The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson
A Novel

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From the beginning Oliver Walzer is a natural--at ping-pong. Even with his improvised bat (the Collins Classic edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde) he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion. At sex he is not a natural, being shy and frightened of women, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis team, his game improves. And while the Akiva boys teach him everything he needs to know about ping-pong, his father, Joel Walzer, teaches him everything there is to know about "swag." Unabashedly autobiographical, this is an hilarious and heartbreaking story of one man's coming of age in 1950's Manchester.

About Howard Jacobson

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Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, England. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), No More Mr. Nice Guy, Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), The Finkler Question (winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize), and, most recently, Zoo Time. Jacobson lives in London.
Published March 29, 2011 by Bloomsbury USA. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Professional & Technical. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Oliver also strives to rise above his origins, since, as he puts it, “all we’d been doing since the Middle Ages was growing beetroot and running away from Cossacks.” Yet, hormone-driven as he is, Oliver has other aspirations, most of them things that inspire reverential circumlocution (“Mr Waxman...

Mar 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Mighty Walzer: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Walzer is deeply anxious about his sexuality, creating elaborate collages combining his family's photo albums and pinups from lad magazines, but it's a trip to the Akiva social club that proves fateful for the awkward adolescent, as it's there where he meets the older boys of the local Ping-Pong ...

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Mighty Walzer: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Oliver Walzer has these same psychological peculiarities, and Jacobson uses them to play a game of narrational unreliability with his reader/opponent, a game like that played by his character Phil Radic, whom Oliver calls a "master" of "finding angles you'd never have guessed were there."

Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Mighty Walzer: A Novel

Curtis Brown

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