Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.
This is a comprehensive and definitive study of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson. It offers lucid, detailed and nuanced readings of each of Jacobson’s novels, and makes a powerful case for the importance of his work in the landscape of contemporary fiction. Focusing on the themes of comedy, masculinity and Jewishness, the book emphasises the richness and diversity of Jacobson’s work. Often described by others as ‘the English Philip Roth’ and by himself as ‘the Jewish Jane Austen’, Jacobson emerges here as a complex and often contradictory figure: a fearless novelist; a combative public intellectual; a polemical journalist; an unapologetic elitist and an irreverent outsider; an exuberant iconoclast and a sombre satirist. Never afraid of controversy, Jacobson tends to polarise readers; but, love him or hate him, he is difficult to ignore. This book gives him the thorough consideration and the balanced evaluation that he deserves.
boundary crossing. 5 The
winning of the 2015 ManBookerPrize by James for this novel might
suggest canonisation, but if so, what canon? James’s achievement
transcends the boundary of Caribbean writing. The fact that it has been
taken up by HBO to be made into a TV series arguably suggests its
contiguity with other popular forms. Among his influences James cites
William Faulkner, Roberto Bolano and comic
interface between Jewishness and “Englishness” in his work’ ( Gilbert 2013 : 9). In their introduction to a special edition of European Judaism on contemporary British Jewish writing, the editors, Axel Stähler and Sue Vice, recognise ‘a dazzling burst in the productivity of British Jewish literature’, ‘characterized by a new confidence’ ( Stähler and Vice 2014 : 3) and endorsed by a series of prestigious literary awards, most notably the Nobel Prize for Harold Pinter, the Orange Prize for Naomi Alderman and Linda Grant and of course Jacobson’s own ManBookerPrize
a hilariously comic provocateur; a passionate polemicist and an ardent advocate of ‘ambiguity and contradiction’ ( Jacobson 2012a : xiii); the author of (in his own words) ‘the most Jewish novel that has ever been written by anybody, anywhere’ ( Buckley 2006 : 23), whose literary heroes are Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence, Jacobson revels in ambivalence. These protean qualities are reflected in the range and diversity of his work.
Best known for his ManBookerPrize-winning novel, The Finkler Question (2010), Jacobson is, at the time of writing, the author of
Sustainability, subject and necessity in Yann Martel’s Life of
Circles unrounded: sustainability, subject
and necessity in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
Yann Martel’s ManBookerPrize-winning Life of Pi (2002 ) depicts
the story of Pi, a boy who finds himself stranded on a lifeboat in the vast
Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger. Having grown up in the setting of his
family’s zoo in Pondicherry, Pi is faced with the loss of his family, who – on
their way to a new start in Canada – go down with the ship, along with
the remaining zoo animals. The central storyline, located in part 2 of the
novel, is that of
Anglo-American television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s ManBookerPrize-winning novel Wolf Hall . 10
British films featuring the King include Henry VIII
and Catherine Howard (1910, director unknown). The following year
Arthur Bourchier took the title role in a version of Shakespeare’s
Henry VIII (William Barker), described by historian Rachael Low
as Britain’s ‘first really important feature film
tenor of ‘Taking comic novels seriously’ was strategic: published just prior to the awarding of the ManBookerPrize to The Finkler Question , the complaint that comedy has been ghettoised in contemporary culture was arguably a form of covert lobbying. This is not to say that Jacobson’s arguments are purely self-interested, but rather that, as with all statements by artists about the nature of the field they work in, they are not entirely disinterested either, and need to be read in the context of their own poetics.
The fullest statement of these poetics – and
the novel, who is ultimately unable to see the point of life after the death of his wife. This suicide casts a shadow over the whole novel, as does the sense of a new wave of antisemitism in England, and in this sense The Finkler Question anticipates what is undoubtedly Jacobson’s bleakest novel, J .
In common with most of Jacobson’s previous novels, nothing much happens in the way of incident in J , the second of Jacobson’s novels to be shortlisted for the ManBookerPrize. The novel centres on the relationship between two characters with odd