Book review: 'Kalooki Nights' by Howard Jacobson (Cape, £17.99)
Here is a textbook exhibition of the psychopathology of the Judaic mentality projected on to the Germans. By the way, no one was gassed in Buchenwald, a fact admitted even by Establishment-approved scribblers.
"...The levels of human misery attained by the Washinsky family are almost beyond endurance as the parents give Asher a guilt trip...they also drive the already half mad Manny totally round the twist so that the Holocaust-obsessed youth kills his parents by gassing them, by creating a mini-Buchenwald in Crumpsall; in his own home. Even for Jacobson, this is gallows humour taken to or beyond extremes. The plot becomes ever more convoluted and horrific, the humour blacker than mere good taste would credit. There is no raw nerve of Jewish guilt, Jewish paranoia, crazy Jewish family life...
"...Whenever you think that Jacobson is 'going too far,' he goes further. There's a terrible S&M concentration camp fantasy when Mendel, a Jewish inmate and cartoonist, is taken up by Ilse Koch, the Commandant's wife. She makes him undress and draw her, although he's not allowed to look at her properly. She exposes one bit of herself at a time. If he gets an erection he has insulted German womanhood and she uses her whip on him. If he remains limp that's also an insult 'no Jew dare look upon German womanhood limp ... Treat me with disrespect and I will shoot you, nicht?"'
"Jacobson has always had a nice Rabelaisian touch when writing about sex, but this scene goes so deep into the mire of Holocaust obsession and Jewish guilt and self-hatred it's as if he has made some dreadful Faustian pact with Beelzebub.
"...To read of the damage inflicted by the ultra-orthodox on themselves is almost as unbearable as to read what the Holocaust did to both its victims and its survivors." -Tom Rosenthal, The Independent (UK) July 2, 2006