Howard Jacobson: Shylock is my Name

Firstly I am VERY glad I listened to Shylock Is My Name on audio The narrator was very English very nicely spoken and gave emphasis to all the ight words He helped me stay on track whereas left to myself I probably would have ead too fast and lost the meaningThe meaning was deep the prose very literary and at times it was very heavy However there were also times that made me smile and there were some very beautiful passages Of course no one does it uite like Shakespeare himself and Shylock beginning The uality of mercy is not strained speech was an absolute and unexpected delightI am enjoying this Hogarth Shakespeare series overall but some of the books are entertaining than others This one is undoubtedly very good but enjoyable would not be a word to apply to it It was interesting even fascinating at times and extremely well written but some application was euired to actually ead it Recommended for lovers of Shakespeare especially if you have already ead The Merchant of Venice Great book eually thought provoking challenging and entertaining It certainly helps if you have at least some familiarity and understanding of Shakespeare s The Merchant of Venice and I suspect those of us who don t might be find this book somewhat perplexing to say the least Whilst I am no expert having seen MOV several times certainly helped me to understand and get the most out of this bookWhilst I do agree with some eviewers that the Strulovich Shylock passages are stronger than those concerning Plurabell D Anton the difference is however by no means as marked as some eviewers would have it I am a great lover of the plays of Shakespeare watching not eading them and certainly agree with some eviewers that this book enhances broadens and deepens understanding and appreciation of the original play as well as the character and possible motivations of ShylockMy advice is to go and see the play brilliant although troubling and challenging as it may be to a contemporary audience at least once and then ead the Jacobson book definitely not the other way ound This book eally made me laugh I don t often laugh out loud at books especially not on a plane surrounded by strangers But I did while eading thisI have ead eviews that complain of Jacobson showing off in this book that seem to think it is just about the author showing how well he thinks he can write and how clever he is I didn t get any of that as I ead it But I did laugh a lotIt might help that I am British and there s an element of the traditional English farce It might help that the action takes place about 5 miles away from where I grew up so I can picture the scenery etc But it made me laughI ead the original just before I ead this Now I am in a trap I might never escape this novel made me want to e visit the play as I think I will get out of the Shakespeare version having ead the Jacobson version But I am fairly convinced that e eading the play would make me want to e ead the book which would make me want to go back to the play which wouldDid I mention it made me laugh Shylock is My Name is a book I have been pining to ead since I heard about it And it did live up to my expectations even though it was absolutely nothing like I was expecting it to be The writing style at the beginning completely threw me It was literature than I had expected even though this is a etelling of Shakespeare I somehow wasn t expecting it to be like that But the further I ead the I fell in love with the beautiful writing style and the story The wording was done so well and it built up the story perfectly The best thing about this novel was how thought provoking it was It does help to have ead The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare because the book is based on it I was a little confused when I was trying to draw the parallels between this book and the play The storyline of Portia was clearly the same as the one of Plurabelle in this novel But Shylock s story with wanting his bond and all that occurs in The Merchant of Venice has already happened Instead of Shylock s story we are getting Strulovitch s which cleverly twists to un parallels with Shylock s old story It was incredibly well done and I loved seeing the similarities in the etelling This one also heavily focuses on the theme of discrimination eligion and eligious culture Especially Judaism seeing as the original play is based around this I know that the focus being on this will put off some eaders but seeing as I haven t ead many books about Judaism it intrigued me all the I learned some things and it made me think of some others You could easily eplace the word Jew here with other culture titles or eligions and you might even get a similar story It s amazing how well this elates to some issues present day but to see that you ll have to do some of your own analysing I also liked that Shylock and Strulovitch were both fathers who had to aise their children alone for whatever eason It s interesting to the different approaches they take although they both are landing in the extreme D Anton was another character I liked He seemed to simply want to play the father to everyone and be of help But sometimes it put him in difficult situations and it was so sad to see how events unfolded around him Without knowing what there was there was uite a bit of ising suspense The outcome wasn t a mind blowing plot twist but it wasn t what I predicted either The best way for me to describe this book would be as pleasantly surprising A gentle ead but one that ested heavily on my mind I d ecommend it and look forward to the next book of its nature This eview and others can be found on Olivia s Catastrophe This is a book I ve wanted to ead for a long time although I didn t ealize it was part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project to commission modern novelists to etell ShakespeareHoward Jacobson has plucked forth Shylock breathed new life into him and given him another turn upon the stage including a chance to finish unfinished business in Act Five In this book he appears in chilly England to help and support Simon Strulovitch who finds himself stuck in a dilemma similar to Shylock s in Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern e imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters Shylock Winter a cemetery Shylock In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch With characteristic irony Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and

Nces my appreciation or vice versa Edit 28 February I m dropping this ating down to one star because I m still angry at itShylock Is My Name is Howard Jacobson s addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare series and I felt it to be such a let down after eading Jeanette Winterson s The Gap of Time I ead Jacobson s J last year and was disappointed in it in similar ways as I am disappointed in this one While he can write Jacobson is very disjointed in his writing as if he is showing off to us plebs how smart how intelligent how verbose how white how upper class and in this case how Jewish he is and therefore how much better he is than the est of us I can t help but wonder if this is one of those books that are written for men about men and by men that us helpless females are too different fundamentally to understand what it s all aboutIn this case this is Jacobson s endition of Shakespeare s The Merchant of Venice I have vague ecollections of eading this play and finding Shylock interesting but this novel didn t seem to capture the Shakespeare essence as I felt Winterson s etelling didWhat I disliked about this novel is the consistent and sexually charged current of a father obsessed with what enters his daughter s vagina Yes Literally I don t ecall that interpretation made of Shakespeare s play so it caught me off guardIn chapter eight Strulovitch comments on his daughter BeatriceIt had been going on a long time She was thirteen when it started Thirteen in fact twenty three in appearance Luscious A Levantine princess A pomegranate She was luscious to herself too He had caught her looking at her eflection in the mirror once pouting her lips and laughing at her own fullness smoothing her thighs pushing out her breasts amused by the too muchness but overwhelmed by it at the same time As though it imposed a esponsibility on her Was this eally her Was this eally hers to do with as she chose Of course she had to deploy herself Of course she had to feel her beauty had a purpose beyond her own gaze and yes because she knew he tailed her knew he followed her into her own bedroom even beyond hisIt continues throughout the novel with Strulovitch thinking about whether or not he should find his daughter attractive He also through the entire length of the novel considers the utmost importance of his existence was to make sure that the penis that enters her vagina is circumcised and importantly Jewish so that Beatrice is not banished from her family Strulovitch is incredibly abusive in all ways to his young daughter in the way that many fanatic eligious believers are As her father he believes he controls her entirely from her day to day life to her private sexual life When she doesn t listen to him he goes off and throws a tantrum demanding that pivotal pound of fleshIn all I think because I am not both male and Jewish I miss the point of this self eflexive novel It brings to the forefront uestions of Jewish morality in the modern age and whether or not the honest Jew should bend to the modern ways or be igid as tradition dictates And where The Merchant of Venice is argue as anti semitic I wonder if Jacobson s novel is meant to be a mirror to it of sorts as it is constantly uestioning the ole of Jewishness in society where Merchant did notAnd where the pl Strulovitch found his guest in the garden when he woke It was still early And Cold He was wearing his overcoat with a black scarf over his shoulders to Strulovitch s eye not unlike a prayer shawl and was sitting on his Glyndebourne stool talking to Leah A few emaining droplet of dew seuinned the lawn lighting him up from below like footlightsPart of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I ead this e imagining of the Merchant of Venice in a contemporary setting over 10 sittings neither enjoying nor disliking it Hard to elate to the main characters two Jews meeting in a cemetery in the North west of England in winter where Strulovitch is attending the grave of his mother Shylock talking to his late wife and soul mate Leah Both fathered daughters Beatrice Jessica who have moved away from the faith to live with Gentiles For some eason Strulovitch invites Shylock back to his house where his own wife is bedridden following a stroke that has left her a semi vegetable For much of the book the two men uminate on what it means to be Jewish We had a chance at a Homeland and we blew it Belonging was never what the Jews were good at anyway Being a stranger is what we do It s the diaspora they are at pains to assure me that brings out the best in us Which neatly sidesteps the uestion of what brings out the best in them Eventually 16 year old Beatrice arrives home and meets Shylock with the usual indifference of teenagers but Strulovitch is agitated Strulovitch was ashamed of himself There s something not ight somewhere he thought when a father can t see his daughter in the company of another man without envisioning foul playNo worries there Beatrice is intent on unning away to Venice with her footballer boyfriend Gratan who has been married at least twice before The lovers were introduced by socialite Plurabelle who hosts a TV eality show between cosmetic surgeries and her confident D Anton D Anton introduced Plurabelle to a handsome mechanic Barnaby the epitome of uncertain youthWhat saves it from crassness is the lyrical phasing which I could only take in in short bursts and the theme seemed to drag Jewish jokes aside for 200 pages and 23 chapters until we come to Act V Strulovitch is determined to get his pound of flesh from the unsuitable Gratan for sleeping with his daughter while she was technically underage and accepts D Anton as a substitute Shylock delivers a powerful argument on the virtue of mercy which Strulovitch ignores only to be outwitted by D Anton He wondered if Shylock were feeling much what he felt now Knowing his words had all been for nothing It wasn t just that there was no victory to be had it was that there was no victory worth having Victory and defeat were alike absurdBut the most thought provoking lines are left until towards the end Action had stopped arbitrarily for Shylock but time hadn t Time had embalmed hi. Ulminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh Jacobson’s insightful etelling examines contemporary acutely elevant uestions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone but for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish also the most challenging?.

Howard Jacobson É 0 CHARACTERS

Book ebook Shylock is my Name –

Merchant of Venice Don t get mad get even an idiom not a uote not in the sense of a pound of flesh no way but just turning things the other way around That s what happens here Most work on antisemitic stereotypes and thinking involves exploring and setting it forth very necessary very important but doesn t turn things aroundTwo other writers I ve ead who deal specifically with Shylock are Philip Roth in Operation Shylock A Confession and Stephen Greenblatt in this New Yorker article Jacobson a Shakespeare scholar before he was a novelist knows about Shakespeare than Roth and I think about eligion than Greenblatt They can t give as good as they get like JacobsonUsually the effect of such work depends on shame or guilt or on instilling insight on whether the perpetrator is willing to look at himself and think and of course on whether the targeted people catch on Shylock Is My Name does not depend on shame guilt or insight Neither does the effect depend this time on unearthing the complexity with which Shakespeare imbued Shylock Shakespeare created Shylock out of his Christian perspective which thanks to his genius he transcended Jacobson knows that perspective but has another So here Shylock turns the tables He can do so since now Jacobson and not only Shakespeare is fashioning him And oh do Plurabelle and D Anton the modern day versions of Portia and Antonio have it coming Think of it as one for the JewsNo it won t lay Shylock to est once and for all Yet kudos for the power of art and the might of the penI ead this out loud at dinner That was perfect for this book How many people ead books out loud any longer It probably stopped with the advent of adioHere is a eview from The Guardian that likes the book in general but ails at the caricature of the gentile characters and what they e made to exemplify But wasn t that part of the point turn and turn about being fair play one is a little closer this one from The Washington Post is helpful fcking love this book This is an intelligent informed and brilliantly written engagement with Merchant it approaches the play thematically ather than strictly following the plot line although there s lots of that too and manages to be both inside and outside the play at the same time In a bold move Jacobson has his own modern Jewish protagonist with a troublesome daughter meet Shylock yes that Shylock in a local cemetery where he s speaking to his long dead wife Leah and takes him home The two men bond over what to do with Jewish daughters how to deal with lost wives and discuss what it means to be Jewish in a transhistorical way The other half of the book offers a modern update on the PortiaAntonioBassanio plot and makes lots of lovely knowing gestures the unpleasant edge to all these characters their vapid and sometimes deliberate prejudices the triangular nature of their elationship Jacobson s writing is wonderful sometimes sparkling sometimes diamond hard and vicious What he has done here is to bring the humour back to the story something that has become increasingly difficult in elation to the original play for post Holocaust generations though contemporary Israeli theatre companies have done a fine job with this issue His take is acutely informed by modern scholarship but it s done in a subtle and unobtrusive way I especially liked the moments when Shylock is interrogated about his intentions in the play a nice way of hooking this back to the original while still maintaining a critical distance This is my first Jacobson and I loved loved his affinity with language the way he chooses his lexicon with precision and attention to nuance and the playful texture this gives to the book I found the first half of the story brilliantly engaging and couldn t stop eading it the second half slows down becomes a bit muddled and laboured as it struggles with the pound of flesh the transaction of the ings all the same an excellent esponse to eception of and e writing of Shakespeare s play to both bring out its modern elevance and to send us back to the original with another perspective Dear Woody AllenPlease make this brilliant evision of Merchant of Venice into a film You can play Strulovich but cast Charles Dance as ShylockLove your workLynThis was brilliant The Hogarth Shakespeare series commissioned modern writers with the task of creating a contemporary etelling of some of Shakespeare s most captivating plays Here we have English writer Howard Jacobson exploring a new twist to The Merchant of Venice The Hogarth folks chose very well as Jacobson seems uniuely ualified to create this TASTY visit with ShylockSimon Strulovich goes to the cemetery to visit the grave of his mother and while there he sees a man conversing with his late wife Turns out the man is ShylockYes THE Shylock From 400 years ago from Shakespeare s play At first I was not sure if this was a figment of Strulovich s imagination b DNF 43% I d ead Jacobson s three most ecent novels and liked them all well enough He s certainly your go to author if you want a witty discussion of the modern Jewish persecution complex I think the problem with this one was that I wasn t sure what it wanted to be a contemporary Jewish novel or a Hebrew fable or some mixture thereof Shylock is pretty much dropped in as is from The Merchant of Venice so it s unclear whether he s Strulovitch s hallucination though others also seem to see him or a time traveler or what The exasperated father characters are well drawn but their flighty daughters less so I just got to a point where I didn t care at all what happened next which to me was the sign to give up and move on to something elseI must say I m pretty disappointed so far with the Hogarth Shakespeare updates Jeanette Winterson s The Gap of Time was alright in places but not all that compelling I have an advanced copy of Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler on my Kindle though so I m willing to keep trying the series I ve never ead The Merchant of Venice and am only basically familiar with the storyline of The Taming of the Shrew I saw one production but it was about 12 years ago so it will be interesting to see whether knowledge of the play enha. Assion concerned still with uestions of identity parenthood anti Semitism and evenge While Strulovich struggles to econcile himself to his daughter Beatrice's “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with age against his own daughter's ejection of her Jewish upbringing

Profile of Howard Jacobson in The New York Times“The book's appeal to Jewish readers is obvious but like all great Jewish art — the paintings of Marc Chagall the books of Saul Bellow the films of Woody Allen — it is Jacobson's use of the Jewish experience to explain the greater human one that sets it apart Who among us is so certain of our identity Who hasn't been asked What's your background and hesitated even for a split second to answer their inuisitor Howard Jacobson's The Finkler uestion forces us to ask that of ourselves and that's why it's a must read no matter what your background”— David Sax NPR