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Ulminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary acutely relevant uestions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone but for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish also the most challenging?. This is an intelligent informed and brilliantly written engagement with Merchant it approaches the play thematically rather than strictly following the plot line although there s lots of that too and manages to be both inside and outside the play at the same time In a bold move Jacobson has his own modern Jewish protagonist with a troublesome daughter meet Shylock yes that Shylock in a local cemetery where he s speaking to his long dead wife Leah and takes him home The two men bond over what to do with Jewish daughters how to deal with lost wives and discuss what it means to be Jewish in a transhistorical way The other half of the book offers a modern update on the PortiaAntonioBassanio plot and makes lots of lovely knowing gestures the unpleasant edge to all these characters their vapid and sometimes deliberate prejudices the triangular nature of their relationship Jacobson s writing is wonderful sometimes sparkling sometimes diamond hard and vicious What he has done here is to bring the humour back to the story something that has become increasingly difficult in relation to the original play for post Holocaust generations though contemporary Israeli theatre companies have done a fine job with this issue His take is acutely informed by modern scholarship but it s done in a subtle and unobtrusive way I especially liked the moments when Shylock is interrogated about his intentions in the play a nice way of hooking this back to the original while still maintaining a critical distance This is my first Jacobson and I loved loved his affinity with language the way he chooses his lexicon with precision and attention to nuance and the playful texture this gives to the book I found the first half of the story brilliantly engaging and couldn t stop reading it the second half slows down becomes a bit muddled and laboured as it struggles with the pound of flesh the transaction of the rings all the same an excellent response to reception of and re writing of Shakespeare s play to both bring out its modern relevance and to send us back to the original with another perspective

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Shylock is my Name

Assion concerned still with uestions of identity parenthood anti Semitism and revenge While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice's “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter's rejection of her Jewish upbringing C. DNF 43% I d read Jacobson s three most recent novels and liked them all well enough He s certainly your go to author if you want a witty discussion of the modern Jewish persecution complex I think the problem with this one was that I wasn t sure what it wanted to be a contemporary Jewish novel or a Hebrew fable or some mixture thereof Shylock is pretty much dropped in as is from The Merchant of Venice so it s unclear whether he s Strulovitch s hallucination though others also seem to see him or a time traveler or what The exasperated father characters are well drawn but their flighty daughters less so I just got to a point where I didn t care at all what happened next which to me was the sign to give up and move on to something elseI must say I m pretty disappointed so far with the Hogarth Shakespeare updates Jeanette Winterson s The Gap of Time was alright in places but not all that compelling I have an advanced copy of Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler on my Kindle though so I m willing to keep trying the series I ve never read The Merchant of Venice and am only basically familiar with the storyline of The Taming of the Shrew I saw one production but it was about 12 years ago so it will be interesting to see whether knowledge of the play enhances my appreciation or vice versa

Howard Jacobson Ø 0 Summary

Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern re imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters Shylock Winter a cemetery Shylock In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch With characteristic irony Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and p. Firstly I am VERY glad I listened to Shylock Is My Name on audio The narrator was very English very nicely spoken and gave emphasis to all the right words He helped me stay on track whereas left to myself I probably would have read too fast and lost the meaningThe meaning was deep the prose very literary and at times it was very heavy However there were also times that made me smile and there were some very beautiful passages Of course no one does it uite like Shakespeare himself and Shylock beginning The uality of mercy is not strained speech was an absolute and unexpected delightI am enjoying this Hogarth Shakespeare series overall but some of the books are entertaining than others This one is undoubtedly very good but enjoyable would not be a word to apply to it It was interesting even fascinating at times and extremely well written but some application was reuired to actually read it Recommended for lovers of Shakespeare especially if you have already read The Merchant of Venice


10 thoughts on “Shylock is my Name

  1. says:

    Dear Woody AllenPlease make this brilliant revision of Merchant of Venice into a film You can play Strulovich but cast Charles Dance as ShylockLove your workLynThis was brilliant The Hogarth Shakespeare series commissioned modern writers with the task of creating a contemporary retelling of some of Shakespeare’s most captivating plays Here we have English writer Howard Jacobson exploring a new twist to The Merchant of Venice The

  2. says:

    Shylock is My Name is a book I have been pining to read since I heard about it And it did live up to my expectations even though it was absolutely nothing like I was expecting it to be The writing style at the beginning completely threw me It was literature than I had expected even though this is a retelling of Shakespear

  3. says:

    Firstly I am VERY glad I listened to Shylock Is My Name on audio The narrator was very English very nicely spoken and gave emphasis to

  4. says:

    DNF 43% I’d read Jacobson’s three most recent novels and liked them all well enough He’s certainly your go to author if you want a witty discussion of the modern Jewish “persecution complex” I think the problem with this one was that I wasn’t sure what it wanted to be a contemporary Jewish novel or a Hebrew fable or some mixture thereof Shylock is pretty much dropped in as is from The Merchant of Venice so it’s unclear whet

  5. says:

    This is a book I've wanted to read for a long time although I didn't realize it was part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project to commission modern novelists to retell ShakespeareHoward Jacobson has plucked forth Shylock breathed new life into him and given him another turn upon the stage including a chance to finish unfinished business in Act Five In this book he appears in chilly England to help and support Simon Strulovitch who finds hims

  6. says:

    Great book – eually thought provoking challenging and entertaining It certainly helps if you have at least some familiarity and understanding of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and I suspect those of us who don’t might be find this book somewhat perplexing to say the least Whilst I am no expert having seen MOV several times

  7. says:

    Edit 28 February – I'm dropping this rating down to one star because I'm still angry at itShylock Is My Name is Howard Jacobson's addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare series and I felt it to be such a let down after reading Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time I read Jacobson's J last year and was disappointed in it in similar ways as I am d

  8. says:

    This is an intelligent informed and brilliantly written engagement with Merchant it approaches the play thematically rather than strictly following the plot line although there's lots of that too and manages to be both inside and outside the play at the same time In a bold move Jacobson has his own modern Jewish

  9. says:

    This book really made me laugh I don't often laugh out loud at books especially not on a plane surrounded by strangers But I did while reading thisI have read reviews that complain of Jacobson showing off in this book that seem to think it is just about the author showing how well he thinks he can write and how c

  10. says:

    Strulovitch found his guest in the garden when he woke It was still early And Cold He was wearing his overcoat with a black scarf over his shoulders to Strulovitch’s eye not unlike a prayer shawl –and was sitting on his Glyndebourne stool talking to Leah A few remaining droplet of dew seuinned the lawn lighting him up from below like footlightsPart of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I read this re imagining of the Me

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