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The Making of Henry [Paperback]

Howard Jacobson

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Book Description

Aug. 23 2005
Acclaimed as Britain’s greatest and most underrated novelist, this is Howard Jacobson’s masterpiece.

One day, out of the blue, Henry Nagel receives a solicitor’s letter telling him he has inherited a sumptuous apartment in St. John’s Wood. Divine intervention? Or his late father’s love nest? Henry doesn’t know, but he is glad to escape the North, where there is nothing to keep him. After nearly sixty years of angry disappointment, Henry’s life is about to change.

Not that the ghosts of Henry’s past are prepared to disappear without a struggle – his old friend and rival Osmond “Hovis” Belkin, currently enjoying a spectacularly successful career in Hollywood, his great aunt Marghanita for whom he once entertained a dangerous passion, and his father Izzi Nagel, upholsterer turned illusionist, fire-eater and origamist, whose shade Henry interrogates relentlessly. But the present clamours as loudly as the past. His dyspeptic neighbour Lachlan wants his sympathy, Lachlan’s sloppy red setter, Angus, wants a walk, and Moira, the waitress with the crooked smile and custard hair, seems to want him. Kicking and screaming every inch of the way, Henry realizes he might finally be falling in love. Will love be the making of Henry?

Tender, funny and beautifully told, The Making of Henry is Howard Jacobson’s richest novel to date. The writing makes you gasp with pleasure, the story builds effortlessly to its crescendo of revelations and, above all, it adds a new warmth to his reputation as the most exhilaratingly intelligent of contemporary novelists.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Aug. 23 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099472163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099472162
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,409,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

There are certain literary types that we think of as uniquely American. So, it is a surprise to find a Philip Roth protagonist living in England. Henry Nagle is a disgraced, middle-aged college lecturer. A pointless old feud has caused him to willfully destroy what was already a mediocre career. His Oedipal complex causes him to continue to argue with his dead father. It also causes him to date only married women. When Henry mysteriously inherits a luxury apartment, his whole life is called into question. Henry's new apartment comes with responsibilities to a quirky neighbor and a beautiful, divorced waitress. Henry's attempt to make peace with his parents and his life's failings is engaging, but less interesting are the late-in-the-book mysteries and revelations about his mother and aunt. Henry is not the most likable protagonist; however, his honesty and foibles make for a meaningful read. Marta Segal
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“Jacobson is among the most exhilarating of intelligent contemporary novelists.”
The Guardian

“Painful, funny and highly readable. Jacobson is at the top of his verbal form here”
The Evening Standard

“Page for page and sentence for sentence, it confirms Jacobson as, by some distance, the cleverest, funniest, sharpest writer we have”
The Sunday Telegraph

“A rich, unrepentantly funny novel, full of vim and vigour and bolshie cleverness. Its prose pulsates with fresh images”
The Observer

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never too late March 14 2011
By igoforth - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Howard Jacobson gives us another hilarious portrait of a difficult man, this one sixty-year-old Henry, neurotic, Jewish, alone, and waiting to die. (Are you laughing yet?) Jacobson is a genius, an irresistible story-teller whose sentences cry out to be shared, savored, cherished. The Making of Henry is, of all things, a romantic comedy, though its hero is about as unlikely a candidate for love and marriage as has ever been imagined for the genre. Jacobson always makes me glad to be in his company; in this book, for a change of pace, he also offers a happy ending.
4.0 out of 5 stars Personalities plus! July 22 2013
By Cornelia(CONNIE) MacErlean author of "Baggage" - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Of course I like this story because it shows me what all writers know or should know....what makes humans tick. The characters held my interest right to the end of the book. And any writing describing the psychology of the individuals through their actions makes an interesting story for me....Jacobson at his best.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Making of Henry Sept. 23 2012
By Trish - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well, I love Hiward Jacobson so I enjoyed Henry. Can't help but feel some of it was autobiographical. Henry really is a flawed character, weak and lacking go but I found myself warming to him anyway!

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