'He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after
another. So he should have been prepared for this one...' Julian
Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC
worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and
television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly
relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost
touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick,
a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than
with exam results. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently
widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record
with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at
Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful
evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a
time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had
fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before
they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it.
Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at
all because that way you had less to mourn? Treslove finds he has
tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends'
losses. And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove
hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer
in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this,
his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably
change. "The Finkler Question" is a scorching story of exclusion
and belonging, justice and love, ageing, wisdom and humanity.
Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of
our finest writers at his brilliant best.