Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson
A Novel

34%

8 Critic Reviews

Despite the writhing and wrenching that Jacobson puts his narrator through, the story becomes less and less comical and more and more pathetic .
-NPR

Synopsis

Reading is over. Writing is finished. Publishing is dead. Embittered author Guy Ableman knows this, as does his desperate editor; as does the sad whole of doomed literary London. But Guy is dedicated to his dying art, and continues to write for an audience that doesn't exist, loathed by the few readers he does have - feminists who charge him with misogyny, mothers who accuse him of hating children.

His vivacious wife Vanessa, a strikingly beautiful red-head, contrary, highly strung and often blazingly angry, is another source of pain, as is her alluring mother Poppy. More like sisters than mother and daughter, they come as a pair, a blistering presence. And Guy is, from the off, as captivated by his mother-in-law as he is by his wife...

Against a backdrop of disappointment, failure and loss, in a world in which food and fashion have long since trampled fiction into the ground, Guy is consumed with the temptation of an illicit affair. It distorts every thought in his head, and becomes his next great novel. Fantasy blurs with reality in this furious, hilarious novel about love, loss, mothers and daughters. Frank, poignant and moving, Zoo Time is our funniest writer at his brilliant best.
 

About Howard Jacobson

See more books from this Author
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 October 16, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 385 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Zoo Time
All: 8 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 7

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jincy Willett on Jan 11 2013

“Zoo Time” is a fortified castle. While its defenses are impressive, the space they surround is almost empty.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Edmund Gordon on Sep 29 2012

Since Zoo Time deals with character, setting and plot in an entirely cursory way, you can only really engage with it as a piece of pure rhetoric – and yet its complaints are either unfocused or plain unconvincing.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Theo Tait on Aug 30 2012

The killer for Zoo Time is that Jacobson has a limited talent for invention, and certainly very little inclination for it.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Oct 26 2012

This is a great opportunity lost...a self-inflicted wound of a book.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Nov 28 2012

Despite the writhing and wrenching that Jacobson puts his narrator through, the story becomes less and less comical and more and more pathetic .

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Ryan on Oct 19 2012

Zoo Time has the forward drive of a locomotive on a tear and the precision of a scalpel in the hands of a prankster surgeon.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Noah Richler on Dec 21 2012

...its lusting, ambitious protagonist in whom especially the sexual excesses are to be excused because of the punishments he has endured as a Jew is, by now, an etiolated cliché.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Noah Richler on Dec 21 2012

Almost funny, but hardly enough to sustain the book or to provide more than fleeting interest in Ableman, a tedious rather than illuminating complainer with whom no sensible reader would willingly keep company.

Read Full Review of Zoo Time: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Zoo Time
45%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 41 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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