Book at Bedtime – The Mighty Walzer. Hilarious? I doubt it……
Published on 26 November 2012 - 8 comments
Author: Penny Jones
Another Jewish book. This time it’s The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson. I don’t have anything against Jewish content per se, but there does seem to be an overdose of it lately, and not just on the BBC. That and coming-of-age stories. Anyway, this one is billed by Radio 4 as a “hilarious tale of the coming-of-age of a wannabe ping-pong champion”. Given Radio 4′s track record with comedy, I am highly skeptical of their ability to define hilarious, but we shall see. Is it really as simple as someone realising that last week’s book was a bit heavy and sticking something ‘funny’ in to balance things out?
‘Set in 1950s Manchester’. No respite there then.
‘Each chapter of The Mighty Walzer opens with a quotation about ping-pong’. Really? Can’t wait to hear those….
‘He winds up marrying Sabine, the Jewish girl-next-door who guarantees him a miserable home life.’ Of course.
Reviewers’ main criticisms include: ‘The book is strewn with Yiddish words and Mancunian slang.’ Will they provide a glossary on the Radio 4 website?
And once again, Radio 4 do not see fit to tell us who is reading this Book at Bedtime. Let’s just hope it is not Jacobson himself.
Please vote in the Book at Bedtime poll on the right hand side of the page to let others know whether it’s worth staying awake for. Last week’s book (The Liar’s Gospel) received a thumbs down from the voters, though no-one commented to say why. At least it was unusual. This week’s just sounds awful.