January 2nd, 2011
Episode 306 of 434 episodes
James Naughtie and readers talk to this year's Man Booker prize winner - Howard Jacobson. The chosen book for this edition of Bookclub is the one he says he wants people to read : The Mighty Walzer, first published in 1999. Peculiarly, it is a comic novel about the joy and despair of table tennis. It's also a portrait of a Jewish boyhood in Manchester, showing how the main character - Oliver Walzer - comes to terms with the demands of puberty and his sporting genius; as well as the attentions of his mother, grandmother and assorted aunties. Back in the 1950s Jacobson, like his alter-ego Oliver Walzer, was one of the top 10 junior table tennis players in the country. This is a heavily autobiographical novel from a writer who's has been called 'the master of confessional humour'. As always on Bookclub, a group of readers join the author in the discussion and James Naughtie chairs the programme. February's Bookclub choice : 'Blood River' by Tim Butcher. Producer : Dymphna Flynn.