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About the book
  • Published: 1 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446413029
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

Kalooki Nights

‘The raging, contentious, hilarious, holy, deicidal, heartbreaking KALOOKI NIGHTS is a novel that stands toe-to-toe with the greats’ - Christopher Hitchens, Sunday Telegraph

Life should have been sunny for Max Glickman, growing up in Crumpsall Park in peacetime, with his mother's glamorous card evenings to look forward to, and photographs of his father's favourite boxers on the walls. But other voices whisper seductively to him of Buchenwald, extermination, and the impossibility of forgetting.
Fixated on the crimes which have been committed against his people, but unable to live among them, Max moves away, marries out, and draws cartoon histories of Jewish suffering in which no one, least of all the Jews, is much interested. But it's a life. Or it seems a life until Max's long-disregarded childhood friend, Manny Washinsky, is released from prison. Little by little, as he picks up his old connection with Manny, trying to understand the circumstances in which he made a Buchenwald of his own home, Max is drawn into Manny's family history – above all his brother's tragic love affair with a girl who is half German. But more than that, he is drawn back into the Holocaust obsessions from which he realises there can be, and should be, no release.
There is wild, angry, even uproarious laughter in this novel, but it is laughter on the edge. It is the comedy of cataclysm.

  • Pub date: 1 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446413029
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

About the Author

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson has written fifteen 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 and was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for his most recent novel, J.

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Praise for Kalooki Nights

“This is turbocharged; someone has put a rocket under Jacobson and the result is scintillating....Jacobson is quite simply a master of comic precision. He writes like a dream, with a complete mastery of technique...He can have you in stitches either with a long, beautifully timed paragraph or with a mere two words...”

Nick Lezard, Evening Standard

“The raging, contentious, hilarious, holy, deicidal, heartbreaking Kalooki Nights is a novel that stands toe-to-toe with the greats”

Christopher Hitchens, Sunday Telegraph

“Kalooki Nights is a book to laugh at, learn from and argue with”

David Horspool, The Times

“Very funny...a rich, dense book...not so much like reading a novel as sharing a train carriage with its narrator...There is much to learn and a good deal to enjoy”


“Kalooki Nights is far and away Jacobson's most ambitious, most fully realised and, above all, most entertaining novel. For its near reckless bravery it deserves some kind of literary VC”

Tom Rosenthal, Independent on Sunday

“Develops into a profound and despairing examination of modern life”

David Annand, Scotland on Sunday

“This is a welcome return to the bittersweet Yiddish-inspired humour at which Jacobson excels, and which has rightly earned him comparisons with Philip Roth...a gloriously pugnacious novel which, not unlike the fiction of Kingsley Amis in his pomp, wants to take on all-comers”

Bryan Cheyette, Guardian

“It is likely to be the funniest book published this year...prose sharper and brighter than any of his contemporaries...The jacket says Jacobson has won just one prize for his novels...[Kalooki Nights] deserves to redress the injustices meted out on its author”


“Broadsheet reviewers had praised it as a 'work of genius' - and they were right. The book is Jacobson's masterpiece. The writing is flawless, with the author's trademark blending of tragedy and comedy. A ferocious intelligence courses through it, reminiscent of Philip Roth at his 'Counterlife' best”

Jonathan Freedland, Jewish Chronicle

“The biggest laugh and the biggest cry since Angela Carter's Small Children”

Simon Schama, Books of the Year, Observer

“A wonderful surprise”

Leo Robson, New Statesman

“In this age of lazy reviewing, facile judgment and inflated rhetoric, how is one to convey news of the arrival of a work of genius? This powerful, troubling, moving, profound novel is nothing less. Its architecture - more accurately: its engineering, the construction of it - is a feat of brilliance, so sustained and accurate is it, and yet this is the least of its merits. What really steals one's breath away is its sharpness and depth of insight - a sharpness that flays, and a depth almost too vertiginous to describe - and the remorseless tragedy it unfolds, even as it makes one laugh aloud, sometimes in shock. It is the most intelligent and important novel to appear in this country in years.”

AC Grayling, The Times

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