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Kalooki Nights: A Novel Paperback – April 22, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book recounts Max's relationship with his childhood friend Manny Washinsky. Unlike Max, Manny was raised in an orthodox household. Manny teaches Max of the horrors of the Holocaust. When Max's older brother becomes romantically involved with a non-Jewish woman and the parents do everything in their power to terminate the relationship, Max ultimately gasses them to death in their bed and spends many years in prision. Years later Max and Manny meet again, when an anti-semitic television producer hires Max to do research on a story about Manny.
In many ways, this book is a cross between "Portnoy's Complaint" and other early books by Philip Roth and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", the story of two American Jewish cartoonists, by Michael Chabon. The book has as some of its themes the tension between secularism and traditional religiosity as options for modern Jews, the Holocaust and its impact on Jewish life and belief, and the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, particularly as the relationships involve sexuality and intimacy.
The book is funny in many places and insightful in some.Read more ›
Membership in the tribe (or honorary membership) may be necessary to absorb its full impact. Indeed, if any recent book emerges as a Jewish classic, this will be the one. Jacobson is now in the Pantheon.
It took me awhile to warm up to this novel. Others have compared it to Roth and Chabon, but the immediate and obvious comparison to me was to one of my favorite novels ever, Mordecai Richler's Joshua Then and Now (simplified into a little-seen film with a young James Woods and a not so young Alan Arkin and a very old Alexander Knox). In both novels, the father is a boxer with little connection to Judaism and the son takes his Jewish roots much more seriously notwithstanding marrying Gentiles. Each has a substitute for a bar mitzvah that highlights the sexual difficulties of adolescent boys around older women, a topic rarely discussed elsewhere. Here, it is the father with the greater connection to socialism, rather than the son in the Richler novel, but the parallels were so clear at the beginning that it took me awhile to unmoor Jacobson's vision from Richler's.
Happily, the novel is long enough and complex enough that it left the progenitor behind. As the focus of the book shifts away from the narrator, Max Glickman, and more to his childhood friends, Manny, who murdered his parents, and Errol, who left the group he led in adolescent sexual games to lead a seemingly conventional life, it starts to make you care about these Manchester Jews.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A tour de force of angst, anxiety and family hysteria. Only Howard Jacobson could have written it.Published 13 months ago by David Bouchier
My rule is, you have to try a book for at least the first 50 pages. I couldn't get past the first 20. I know this is a great novel (other people say so), but not to my liking . . .Published on January 11, 2014 by P. Wesel
Jacobson writes with such humor and savvy charm this book glows with Jewish gems. Max is trying to figure out many things, among them what drives a nice Jewish boy like himself to... Read morePublished on September 30, 2013 by Susan Tipton
The reviewer that said the title of this review hit the nail on the head. It is difficult for me, a non-tribe member, to see how even a tribe member could like this book. Read morePublished on December 29, 2011 by Robert
Kalooki Nights - the name of the novel taken from the card game played by the protaganist, Max Glickman's, mother - is ostensibly a whodunnit. Read morePublished on July 6, 2009 by Sirin