Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson

When the police apprehended me I was still carrying the book I'd stolen from the Oxfam bookshop in Chipping Norton, a pretty Cotswold town where I'd been addressing a reading group.

A novel that begins with a stolen book. I like this. Bonus that the scene that unfolds on page 1 is fascinating. A bunch of women, the reading group, are about to flame the narrator, an author, we presume, for using what the bunch of women perceive as sexist grammar. One lady had hundreds of passages marked with phosphorescent arrows pointing accusingly at the offensive pronoun 'he'.

First thing said:

"Why do you hate women so much?"

This could get nasty. It turns into an altercation about pronouns and their true meanings. 'He' is neuter so the narrator claims. But the women want him to admit that he stroke she is better. It intensifies as one lady who pronounces book like berk threatens to hit the narrator with his berk.

Random cool line:

"What's wrong with 'he stroke she'?" she challenged me, making the sign of the oblique with her finger only inches from my face, wounding me with punctuation.

Verdict: Cool ( I want more)

Theodore Moracht

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