J – A Novel, by Howard Jacobson

“J" by Howard Jacobson, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, made me feel vaguely worried and confused while I was reading it.

J by Howard Jacobson, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, made me feel vaguely worried and confused while I was reading it. That was probably the author’s intention, since those sort of feelings drove him to write it. It is set in a Britain of the near future, at a time after a calamitous global event. This event is called “WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED” or “Twitternacht” (with reference to “Kristallnacht” and Twitter.) As a result of this event, many people got killed, or were forced to move to other countries or back where they came from; everybody got given random, different names (oddly spelled), social media was banned and art was reduced to inoffensive, pleasing aesthetics so as not to arouse any extreme emotions ever again. (Continue reading…)