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  • Published: 14 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473512573
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

J: A Novel

A life-changing novel by one of Britain's greatest novelists, winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2010

A thought-provoking prescient novel from the Booker-prize winning author of The Finkler Question.
'Remarkable.May well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times' Guardian
Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going.

They aren't sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?

Hanging over their lives is a momentous catastrophe - a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened.

Set in the future - a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited - J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.

Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize and Longlisted for the JQ Wingate Literary Prize.

  • Published: 14 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473512573
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson has written sixteen novels and five works of non-fiction. He won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award in 2000 for The Mighty Walzer and then again in 2013 for Zoo Time. In 2010 he won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question; he was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for J.

Also by Howard Jacobson

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Praise for J: A Novel

A mighty novel.


Remarkable… May well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times


Thrilling and enigmatic

New York Times Book Review

Snarling, effervescent and ambitious… Jacobson’s triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling


Jacobson…goes from strength to strength.

William Leith, Evening Standard

Very little about Jacobson’s circuitous romance-cum-murder mystery is straightforward – other than its originality and its devastating brilliance.

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

A dystopia that invites comparison with George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

Sunday Times

Mystifying, serious and blackly funny.

Max Liu, Independent on Sunday

To say J is unlike any other novel Jacobson has written would be misleading: the same ferocious wit runs throughout… That said, comparisons do not do full justice to Jacobson’s achievement in what may well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times.

John Burnside, Guardian

A snarling, effervescent and ambitious philosophical work of fiction… Jacobson’s triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling.

James Kidd, Independent

Jacobson once jokingly referred to himself as a Jewish Jane Austen. Here he reinvents himself as a Jewish Aldous Huxley – and displays mastery in the role.

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

Jacobson has crafted an immersive, complex experience with care and guile.

Anthony Cummins, Observer

J is a remarkable achievement: an affecting, unsettling – and yes, darkly amusing – novel.

Matthew Adams, National

A provocatively dystopian novel that depicts a disturbingly nice world.

Sunday Times

Sufficient testament to a writer who is…producing some of his most powerful work.

Irish Independent

A subtle, topical, thought-provoking and painfully uncomfortable novel.

John Sutherland, The Times

You can’t help feeling that this is an important book, and it’s hugely compelling… Worthy of its status as a Booker long-listee.

Emma Herdman, UK Press Syndication

Jacobson’s most significantly Jewish book and quite possibly his masterpiece.


The persistent reader will be duly rewarded, as the denouement reveals a hidden logic and the book climaxes with a brilliant literary (and philosophical) coup.

Sunday Business Post

Contemporary literature is overloaded with millenarian visions of destroyed landscapes and societies in flames, but Jacobson has produced one that feels frighteningly new by turning the focus within: the ruins here are the ruins of language, imagination, love itself.

Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph

The savagery of his imagery and his conclusions are impossible to forget, and maybe even to deny.


Confounds expectations but confirms Jacobson’s reputation.

New Statesman

I loved this book. A compelling tale that is bound to be a hot contender for the Booker.

Rebecca Wallersteiner, Lady

Impressive, disturbingly timely – a massive step aside and a noticeable step up from most of his other fiction.

Bharat Tandon, Times Literary Supplement

A pivotal – and impressive change of direction for [Jacobson].

Gerald Isaaman, UK Press Syndication

Sentence by sentence, he remains perhaps the best British author around.

James Walton, Spectator

This is Jacobson at his provocative, surprising, brilliant best.

Kate Saunders, Saga Magazine

Thrilling written and the most ambitious work on the shortlist… Once you’ve worked out what’s going on, you’ll be gripped by its hints of an anti-Semitic armageddon.

Mail on Sunday

It’s stark and daring.

Gaby Wood, Telegraph

A brilliant conspiracy yarn examining the manipulation of collective memory.

Mail on Sunday

It's not just the subject of this book that will shock Jacobson fans, its distinct narrative style also comes as a surprise. A pleasant one at that.

Dan Lewis, Travel Guide

A dystopian vision, haunting and memorable

William Leith, Evening Standard

It’s a triumph of creative writing. I finished it and started it again

Philippa Gregory, Daily Express

Jacobson has written a subtle, topical, thought-provoking and painfully uncomfortable novel

John Sutherland, The Times

chilling and provocative, Jacobson is at the height of his powers here


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