Live a Little



Live a LittleAt The Age Of Ninety Something, Beryl Dusinbery Is Forgetting Everything Including Her Own Children She Spends Her Days Stitching Morbid Samplers And Tormenting Her Two Long Suffering Carers, Nastya And Euphoria, With Tangled Stories Of Her Husbands And Love Affairs Shimi Carmelli Can Do Up His Own Buttons, Walks Without The Aid Of A Frame And Speaks Without Spitting Among The Widows Of North London, He S Whispered About As The Last Of The Eligible Bachelors Unlike Beryl, He Forgets Nothing Especially Not The Shame Of A Childhood Incident That Has Hung Over Him Ever Since There S Very Little Life Remaining For Either Of Them, But Perhaps Just Enough To Heal Some Of The Hurt Inflicted Along The Way, And Find New Meaning In What S Left Told With Jacobson S Trademark Wit And Style, Live A Little Is Equal Parts Funny, Irreverent And Tender A Novel To Make You Consider All The Paths Not Taken, And Whether You Could Still Change Course.

Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, England, and educated at Cambridge His many novels include The Mighty Walzerwinner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize , Who s Sorry Nowand Kalooki Nights both longlisted for the Man Booker Prize , and, most recently, The Act of Love Jacobson is also a respected critic and broadcaster, and writes a weekly column for the Independent He lives in London.Profile of Howard Jacobson inThe New York Times. The book s appeal to Jewish readers is obvious, but like all great Jewish art the paintings of Marc Chagall, the books of Saul Bellow, the films of Woody Allen it is Jacobson s use of the Jewish experience to explain the greater human one that sets it apart Who among us is so certain of our identity Who hasn t been asked, What s your background and hesitated, even for a split second, to answer their inquisitor Howard Jacobson s The Finkler Question forces us to ask that of ourselves, and that s why it s a must read, no matter what your background David Sax, NPR.

[KINDLE] ❂ Live a Little ❅ Howard Jacobson – Bluevapours.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Live a Little
  • Howard Jacobson
  • English
  • 10 September 2019
  • 1787331431

10 thoughts on “Live a Little

  1. Diane S ☔ says:

    Not going to rate this as I only made it to page ninty Some of the parts I read were witty but on the whole i just can t connect to this book.

  2. Sid Nuncius says:

    I enjoyed Live A Little very much in the end It is witty, insightful and rather touching, but I found the first two thirds or so a bit of a slog.This is a story of two people in their eighties and nineties respectively who have very different pasts and views of themselves Shimi Carmelli is cursed with remembering almost everything especially his shames and embarrassments which are many A butterfly doesn t beat its wings in China without Shimi feeling it is his fault or at leasts reflects I enjoyed Live A Little very much in the end It is witty, insightful and rather touching, but I found the first two thirds or so a bit of a slog.This is a story of two people in their eighties and nineties respectively who have very different pasts and views of themselves Shimi Carmelli is cursed with remembering almost everything especially his shames and embarrassments which are many A butterfly doesn t beat its wings in China without Shimi feeling it is his fault or at leasts reflects badly on him Beryl Duisenbery, on the other hand, is losing her memory, while trying to write a memoir of her imperiously lived life Who the hell cares, anyway, she thinks It s true if I say it is It s true if I recall it that way We spend the first two thirds of the book getting to know Beryl and Shimi, allowing Jacobson time to develop his characters while throwing witty barbs at politics of both shades, artists, elderly widows and plenty of other targets It s well done and fantastically well written, of course, and they are interesting characters but I did find that it meandered a bit The book really takes off when Beryl and Shimi finally meet and their relationship brings about some surprising and sometimes genuinely touching revelations, confessions and redemptions of a kind Here, I think Jacobson has important things to say about loneliness, the impact of shame on a life and about relationships in general.I laughed several times and was moved, too and in spite of my reservations about the length of the first section, I can recommend Live A Little as a rewarding read My thanks to Vintage for an ARC via NetGalley

  3. Laura Spira says:

    Somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed this book immensely I had not anticipated that reading about very old people and their relationships could be quite so joyous Jacobson has created two central characters, Shimi and Beryl, who will stay in my mind for a long time Shimi, in appearance, is much like my grandfather, but a fartortured soul than he ever was Beryl is a monstrous invention, arrantly self centred and a most neglectful mother, although we can never be sure about any of the hist Somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed this book immensely I had not anticipated that reading about very old people and their relationships could be quite so joyous Jacobson has created two central characters, Shimi and Beryl, who will stay in my mind for a long time Shimi, in appearance, is much like my grandfather, but a fartortured soul than he ever was Beryl is a monstrous invention, arrantly self centred and a most neglectful mother, although we can never be sure about any of the history she conjures up for herself Although she is ageing disgracefully indeed, seems to have lived her whole life disgracefully she mellows as she absorbs Shimi into her purview She is one of the very few fictional characters I have ever wanted to meet in real life.And the other characters are equally vivid Beryl s long suffering carers, the Greek chorus of Widows and, off stage, Shimi s estranged younger brother, Ephraim But the best thing about this book is the conversation Beryl, while losing her memory and her words, still commands a wide range of allusions and vocabulary Her wounding sarcasm to her carers and her sons is entertaining and her verbal jousting with Shimi is delightful Jacobson is a master of dialogue The book is scattered with arresting turns of phrase and gentle humour and I found the ending unexpectedly hopeful and uplifting

  4. Greville Waterman says:

    I tried Oh how hard I tried That seems to be my experience with so many of Howard Jacobson s book I loved some of his early books as well as The Mighty Walzer which was poignant and hilarious but I have struggled ever since.Maybe it is me but I am happy to work at a book and do not expect instant gratification but I just could not immerse myself in Live a Little.There were some lovely descriptions of North London Jewish life which were accurate and acute but I found the plot confusing and I tried Oh how hard I tried That seems to be my experience with so many of Howard Jacobson s book I loved some of his early books as well as The Mighty Walzer which was poignant and hilarious but I have struggled ever since.Maybe it is me but I am happy to work at a book and do not expect instant gratification but I just could not immerse myself in Live a Little.There were some lovely descriptions of North London Jewish life which were accurate and acute but I found the plot confusing and hard to grasp.Perhaps it is meant to be like that as most of the main characters are very elderly and no longer as sharp as they once were but the late, great Mordecai Richler portrayed such a situation with humour, sympathy and hilarity in Barney s Version a marvellous tragi comedy.Maybe I have completely missed the point but whilst there were some beautifully crafted sentences and analogies I did not get the point of this book which I regret because I might be missing something worthwhile

  5. Michael Berquist says:

    I received a free copy of Live A Little from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.This is the smartest book I have read in 2019 It is no surprise that Jacobson has won and been nominated for the Man Booker Prize multiple times His characterizations here are excellent Beryl Dusinbery is an insightful and acerbic character who had me cracking up and rereading her pointed accusations in equal measure The writing is beautiful Take the time to look up the stunning language Jacobsen utili I received a free copy of Live A Little from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.This is the smartest book I have read in 2019 It is no surprise that Jacobson has won and been nominated for the Man Booker Prize multiple times His characterizations here are excellent Beryl Dusinbery is an insightful and acerbic character who had me cracking up and rereading her pointed accusations in equal measure The writing is beautiful Take the time to look up the stunning language Jacobsen utilizes because no word is superfluous and each heightens the characterizations I highly recommend this book to all readers who are caretakers or are taken care of as they will surely find humor and poignancy in this breathtaking novel of love and regret I know this reader sure did

  6. Stephen Goldenberg says:

    I always feel that reading a Howard Jacobson novel is like eating a fancy dessert in a restaurant There spleasure in looking at it on the plate than actually eating it And when you have eaten it, it leaves you with a feeling of over indulgence and sickliness Ostensibly, it s a story about a romance between two nonagenarians, Beryl and Shimi But, as with most Jacobson novels, this is all about character with very little story Beryl and Shimi don t even meet until two thirds of the w I always feel that reading a Howard Jacobson novel is like eating a fancy dessert in a restaurant There spleasure in looking at it on the plate than actually eating it And when you have eaten it, it leaves you with a feeling of over indulgence and sickliness Ostensibly, it s a story about a romance between two nonagenarians, Beryl and Shimi But, as with most Jacobson novels, this is all about character with very little story Beryl and Shimi don t even meet until two thirds of the way through the novel What keeps it readable is Jacobson s flair with language, the many flashes of wit and some larger than life characters However, in the end, it s style over substance

  7. Kathryn Bashaar says:

    Beryl Dusinbery and Shini Carmelli are two very elderly London residents, and very different from each other Beryl is slowly losing her memories to dementia She is a self centered, talkative, demanding woman who freely admits that she was a neglectful mother and can t even quite remember how many children she has nor exactly which lover or husband was the father of each child She seems to be quite well to do, as she has two caregivers who see to her needs around the clock Euphoria is a sweet Beryl Dusinbery and Shini Carmelli are two very elderly London residents, and very different from each other Beryl is slowly losing her memories to dementia She is a self centered, talkative, demanding woman who freely admits that she was a neglectful mother and can t even quite remember how many children she has nor exactly which lover or husband was the father of each child She seems to be quite well to do, as she has two caregivers who see to her needs around the clock Euphoria is a sweet natured Ugandan Nastya is a cynical self interested young woman from Moldova Shimi has bladder issues but is otherwise amazing healthy for a man in his 90s He finds himself very popular with the local widows who consider him a catch because he can do up his own buttons, walk without a walker and talk without spitting Shimi s memory is all too intact He still recalls with agony a fairly minor offense from his childhood which has formed his life and left him lacking in self confidence, social skills and ambition He ekes out a living as a card reader.The reader assumes that these two will meet, but what connects them really took me by surprise.Beryl and Shimi, and Beryl s caretakers, are interesting characters, so I looked forward to seeing what would happen when they finally met But the second half of the book was disappointing Everything Beryl and Shimi do and say once they meet feels out of character Other than the surprise connection, there doesn t seem to be anything that would attract them to each other, yet they immediately fall in love Shy, uptight Shimi suddenly develops both verbal wit and a sophisticated understanding of himself Self centered Beryl is suddenly a great listener with a deep understanding of another human being and the ability to ask just the right question The caregivers drop out of the plot altogether Shimi and Beryl have lengthy, lengthy dialogs that attempt to explain things about their relationship that the author should have shown us in scenes, and none of the explanations make any sense anyway I felt like this author made up some really good characters, then got halfway through the book and couldn t figures out what to do with them.Like my reviews Check out my blog at of The Saint s Mistress

  8. Rana Z says:

    ARC for Novel Neighbor.I don t know how to go about writing a review for this book I just didn t get it It is either a bad book or it s way above my reading level It was confusing and full of stories that felt they were all going to connect but really didn t That may have been on purpose given the main character Beryl Dusinbery is older and forgetting major parts of her life Here there, life death same difference The tone and feelings of the main character all came to a head for me in this ARC for Novel Neighbor.I don t know how to go about writing a review for this book I just didn t get it It is either a bad book or it s way above my reading level It was confusing and full of stories that felt they were all going to connect but really didn t That may have been on purpose given the main character Beryl Dusinbery is older and forgetting major parts of her life Here there, life death same difference The tone and feelings of the main character all came to a head for me in this one quote Getting to the end of ones life can be darn depressing Yuck

  9. Caren says:

    It is unusual for me to give up and not finish a book However, I was actually getting angry at the time I was wasting looking for a purpose in Jacobson s tedious and unsympathetic account of Beryl and her dementia I surrendered before discovering how Beryl s story would link to that of the elderly Shimi Apparently, his trying on his mother s underpants when he was a child would have some lasting impact on his lonely life Ridiculous, not at all funny, and missing the philosophical astutenes It is unusual for me to give up and not finish a book However, I was actually getting angry at the time I was wasting looking for a purpose in Jacobson s tedious and unsympathetic account of Beryl and her dementia I surrendered before discovering how Beryl s story would link to that of the elderly Shimi Apparently, his trying on his mother s underpants when he was a child would have some lasting impact on his lonely life Ridiculous, not at all funny, and missing the philosophical astuteness and wit found in The Finkler Question , the novel aggravated me

  10. John says:

    Four stars for the audiobook with its outstanding narration, the story itself would be a three Shimi tried on his mother s bloomers at age ten once we learn that at age 90 he s been haunted by this his entire life His mother died when he was a child, shortly thereafter his father abandoned Shimi and his brother Ephraim The brothers last met in 1959 Shimi attends his brother s funeral in 2019 out of curiosity He is rather a nebbish sad sack Beryl slightly younger than Shimi has at le Four stars for the audiobook with its outstanding narration, the story itself would be a three Shimi tried on his mother s bloomers at age ten once we learn that at age 90 he s been haunted by this his entire life His mother died when he was a child, shortly thereafter his father abandoned Shimi and his brother Ephraim The brothers last met in 1959 Shimi attends his brother s funeral in 2019 out of curiosity He is rather a nebbish sad sack Beryl slightly younger than Shimi has at least three sons, she isn t exactly certain who all of her living relatives are Her life consists of terrorizing her caregivers, a sweet African and a sour Eastern European She is quite opinionated and aggressive, presumably with some memory loss aphasia She corners Shimi at the funeral to learnabout Ephriam s early life Second half of the book feels a lot like a play script between those two I ll give a bit of a spoiler in the form of a criticism that when the bloomers episode arises, Beryl is as confused as I was how that came to define him Shimi is forced to confront that, but his answer came through as word salad to me Oh well For me, the first part worked out OK as Beryl s over the top attitude contrasted to balance out Shimi s self pity I missed how Shimi s doctor came to have a heavy New York accent Would have liked to have heard about the African carer s tea with the Queen For all the times I felt the story felt as though might teeter into slog territory, I realized later that that I was actually missing those two

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