Review: ‘J’

Review of ‘J’ by Howard Jacobson.

The Oxford Culture Review

Everything about the presentation of Jacobson’s new novel, J, screams that it is a book to be ‘taken seriously’. From the stark black and red minimalist jacket cover (not the colours of Fascism by coincidence), to the blurb declaring it to ‘be talked about in the same breath as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World’ and the quoted critical acclaim that announces Jacobson as ‘A great, great writer’, the design places J outside of Jacobson’s previous comic oeuvre.


Set in a dystopian future after a catastrophic event known only as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED, the narrative follows Kevern and Ailinn, two misfits who find love against the odds in a world filled with violence, hate, and secrets in a case of mass social trauma. WHAT HAPPENED, we later find out, was the systematic annihilation of the world’s Jews. This revelation immediately alters one’s perception of the entire novel…

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