book cover of The Mighty Walzer

The Mighty Walzer

(1999)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Writing Best Novel
Howard Jacobson has been described as "one of the funniest writers alive", his fiction a masterpiece of comedy. "At its best", writes Mary Loudon, "it simply tears you apart." Following the success of No More Mr Nice Guy in 1998--Jacobson's foul and funny rendition of the sex war--The Mighty Walzer moves into the strange, and passionate, world of ping pong to tell the life of one Oliver Walzer. "Grandiosity was in the family," Oliver announces at the very beginning of his account of a childhood in Manchester in the 1950s. "On my father's side. Normally, when I speak of "the family" I seem to mean my father's side. Make what you like of that." It's a challenge which runs throughout the book. We can make what we like of this "history of embarrassments" and the family--"from some sucking bog outside Proskurov"--which supports it.

"One disillusionment at a time" is the principle behind Jacobson's telling of a youth suspended between ping pong and masturbation, mortification and omnipotence, anti- Semitism and the Akiva gang. At the Akiva club, Walzer comes into his own: he's a natural, with the makings of a "star" (even if he is stoned by the "prefab boys" on his way there). At home, he's caught between the flamboyance of his market-trader father--the "swag", and swagger, he wants to pass on to his son--and his mother's famous "reserve". Balancing the split legacy--win or lose? laugh or cry? put up or shut up?--is part of the pain, and pleasure, of the book. No surprise, perhaps, that Walzer is unwilling to make a clear distinction between the two. When it comes to sex and friendship, family and history, life and ping pong, The Mighty Walzer is a brilliant story of one man's journey to the realm of "pain fun": the pleasure of a life spent losing and learning what you can ask for. --Vicky Lebeau


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Used availability for Howard Jacobson's The Mighty Walzer

Hardback Editions

August 1999 : UK Hardback
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Title: The Mighty Walzer
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
ISBN: 0-224-05157-1 / 978-0-224-05157-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

July 2016 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Mighty Walzer (Oberon Modern Plays)
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
ISBN: 1-78319-834-6 / 978-1-78319-834-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Oberon Books Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2011 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Mighty Walzer: A Novel
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
ISBN: 1-60819-685-2 / 978-1-60819-685-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2000 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Mighty Walzer
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
ISBN: 0-09-927472-8 / 978-0-09-927472-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

July 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Mighty Walzer (Oberon Modern Plays)
Author(s): Simon Bent, Howard Jacobson
Publisher: Oberon Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2011 : USA Kindle edition
thumb

Title: The Mighty Walzer: A Novel
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Availability: Amazon   


December 2010 : Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Mighty Walzer
Author(s): Howard Jacobson
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA