Thu 21 November 2019
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The Literary Year 2010
David Robson looks back at 2010, a year in which comic fiction sparkled but dark plots proliferated, and in which politicians turned to the page and minutiae became big

For Howard Jacobson fans, a small but passionate sect, 2010 was a year when sour bewilderment turned to sweet wonderment. How could such an outstanding novelist be made to wait until he was nearly 70 before featuring on the Man Booker shortlist? And how, having finally made the shortlist, could he so effortlessly leapfrog the competition to claim the prize itself?

It was as if the rules of literary fiction had been rewritten. A long underrated writer was suddenly a sexy writer, flavour of the month, as if everyone had known all along how good he was. Comedy had come in from the cold.

And even if The Finkler Question was as much a tragic-comedy as a comedy – one of the main characters throws himself off Beachy Head – there was something decidedly liberating in being able to laugh out loud while reading a book judged serious enough to win the mighty Man Booker. It doesn’t happen often.

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The Telegraph

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