Live a Little by Howard Jacobson
Howard Jacobson’s “wonderful” 16th novel is a “nonagenarian love story”, said Tim Adams in The Observer. Shimi and Beryl live on opposite sides of north London’s Finchley Road. He is 91, and “can remember everything”. She is a little older, and is “in a daily fight against forgetting”. When the novel opens, the pair have yet to meet; “inevitably, slowly”, they come together, and discover that they have a connection rooted in the past. Jacobson dramatises their story with great “verve and tenderness”, while never passing up opportunities for comedy: Shimi’s many admirers, he writes, view him as “the last of the eligible bachelors – by which they mean the last man able to do up his own buttons”.
Since winning the Booker Prize with The Finkler Question in 2010, Jacobson has written a series of “grave, message-heavy novels”, said Alexander Nurnberg in The Sunday Times. Live a Little is a return to the warmer comedy of his early career. “To the extent that it is informing his fiction, we should all be grateful that Howard Jacobson is getting older.”