A review of Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson.
He is a master of shifting tones, from the satirical to the serious. His prose has the sort of elastic precision you only get from a writer who is truly in command, whether he’s discussing masturbation or Zionism, commenting on middle east politics or referencing Kafka and the pre-Raphaelites. He never uses his braininess to cynical or meretricious ends. There’s also deep and sincere soul-searching going on here.