Book Cover ZOO TIME von Howard Jacobson ©

Howard Jacobson

Tuesday 11 November 2014 -
19:30 to 23:59
Bertelsmann Berlin

Howard Jacobson in conversation with Heikko Deutschmann and Shelly Kupferberg

Novels are born out of misery,” declares Guy Ableman who is the protagonist of  “Zoo Time”, the novel Howard Jacobson wrote after his widely successful “The Finkler Question” (winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize). If Guy is right, then this is true for all novels, be they quiet pastoral tales, rags-to-riches yarns, wizard fantasies or love stories. And Zoo Time — drenched in anger, fuelled by sarcasm and bordering on insanity and depravity — is a love story, a mean and excruciatingly comic love story.


Howard Jacobson will be in Berlin for a special reading and discussion to mark the publication of the German translation of Zoo Time (“Im Zoo”). The event is moderated by Shelly Kupferberg while actor Heikko Deutschmann will read the German translation.

Zoo Time

Novelist Guy Ableman is in thrall to his vivacious wife Vanessa, a strikingly beautiful red-head, contrary, highly strung and blazingly angry. The trouble is, he is no less in thrall to her alluring mother, Poppy. More like sisters than mother and daughter, they come as a pair, a blistering presence that destroys Guy's peace of mind, suggesting the wildest stories but making it impossible for him to concentrate long enough to write any of them.

In flight from personal disappointment and universal despair, Guy wonders if it's time to take his love for Poppy to another level. Fiction might be dead, but desire isn't. And out of that desire he imagines squeezing one more great book.


The event will be held in English. Please register via email to There are only limited places available. First come, first served.