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Who's Sorry Now?: A Novel Paperback – July 23, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Man Booker Prize–winner (for The Finkler Question) Jacobson's 2002 novel, only now being released in the U.S., Marvin Kreitman and Charlie Merriweather, friends for 20 years, meet once a week for dim sum. Kreitman, the luggage baron of South London, is married, has two teenage daughters, and any number of lovers. Charlie has always been faithful to his wife, also named Charlie, with whom he shares two children and a career—the two are coauthors of highly successful children's books. One day Charlie shocks Kreitman by suggesting a bit of wife swapping. Kreitman doesn't take his friend seriously until a random accident precipitates a series of farcical circumstances ending with a paradigm shift in the two couples' relationships. Friends, lovers, and relatives are thrown into chaos as Jacobson hilariously chronicles what happens when Kreitman and Charlie look at life from new perspectives. This kind of schematic plotting might seem like the stuff of which Hollywood high-concept comedies are made. But Jacobson writes in a much looser vein and uses his situation to humorously examine various aspects of how we live now. Although the reader eventually grows weary of these solipsistic characters, Jacobson has a reliable penchant for garnering rude laughs at their expense. (July)

From Booklist

Two men with seemingly vastly different personalities and outlooks catapult their families into chaos in this dark comedy about modern sexual fidelity (or, rather, lack of it) and social mores in the first American edition of Jacobson’s 2002 novel. South Londoner Marvin Kreitman is an aging player who, despite being married with children, dangles a multitude of women in his constant quest for sex. His friend Charlie Merriweather is a faithfully married father who lives a stable life, although it’s a considerably tamer one than the promiscuous Marvin’s. During one of their weekly lunch get-togethers, Charlie somehow concocts the scheme that might be the downfall of two families: he and Marvin should swap wives. As Jacobson explores this idea via characters who often seem lightly drawn and capable of inexplicable decisions that leave the reader bewildered as to the exact circumstances of character development, unhappy lives are detailed with a clarity that may render this title heavy going for some. Others may hail it as comic genius of the dark and disturbing variety. --Julie Trevelyan
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (July 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608196860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608196869
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and, most recently, the highly acclaimed The Act of Love. Howard Jacobson lives in London.

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Format: Kindle Edition
I had a hard time with the stars. Did I like it or "really" like it? I went with "really" because I really like Howard Jacobson's writing. But did I "really" like Who's Sorry Now? That, I can't decide.

I feel I've met the protagonist, Marvin Kreitman, before in Jacobsen's work. Marvin is a nancy of a man who somehow manages to be a womanizer with mommy issues. Again. There is a pervasive theme in almost all of Jacobson's books concerning womanizing men who have Oedipal complexes--and they all seem like men who have been emasculated one way or another by one thing, person or another. To put it bluntly, *I* wouldn't f*ck any of his protagonists.

Those themes, along with infidelity and cuckoldry, weave their way through Jacobson's newest novel, as in his other works, such as Zoo Time and The Act of Love.

Marvin "loves" multiple women; he includes his wife, mother, and two daughters in this declaration, but also includes several mistresses. Most of the mistresses are somebody's mother, as in old enough to be HIS mother. Meanwhile, he meets regularly with his old college chum, Charlie, who has never had a mistress, only one woman in his life--Charlie. Charlie (the wife) is known as "Chas" and she and Charlie have what Charlie likes to call "nice sex." But as Charlie's eyes roam ravenously over every spot of female flesh that happens by, it's clear that "nice sex" is no longer cutting it.

The two men hatch a drunken plan to give Charlie a shot at one of Marvin's women--Marvin is to choose whom he will share with Charlie for a night. Although Marvin has, in the past, urged Charlie to explore, when it hits home, he has second thoughts.
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