Jacobson wins the Booker

A surprise victory for Howard Jacobson last night beating off strong favourites, Tom McCarthy’s C and Emma Donoghue’s Room, to win The Man Booker Prize for his 11th novel, The Finkler Question. Chair of Judges Andrew Motion said,

It won because it was the best book. You expect a book by Howard Jacobson to be very clever and very funny and it is both those things. But it is also, in a very interesting way, a very sad, melancholic book. It is comic, it is laughter, but it is laughter in the dark…. a book for grownups, for people who understand that comedy and tragedy are linked.”

Jacobson jested that he would use the £50,000 prize money to buy a new handbag for his wife, and that he would rather be described as a “Jewish Jane Austen than an English Philp Roth.” Of The Man Booker prize he said,

I think that that’s terribly, terribly important that there is still a prize for books that are proper books in an age when we are swimming in a sea of improper books.”