The Mighty Walzer

By Howard Jacobson
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Paperback, 9781608196852, 387pp.

Publication Date: March 29, 2011

List Price: $16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


From the beginning Oliver Walzer is a natural--at ping-pong. Even with his improvised bat (the Collins Classic edition of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde)" he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion. At sex he is not a natural, being shy and frightened of women, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis team, his game improves. And while the Akiva boys teach him everything he needs to know about ping-pong, his father, Joel Walzer, teaches him everything there is to know about "swag." Unabashedly autobiographical, this is an hilarious and heartbreaking story of one man's coming of age in 1950's Manchester.

About the Author
Howard Jacobson is the author of eight previous novels, including "The Mighty Walzer" (winner of the 1999 Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic writing), and several works of nonfiction. He lives in London.

Praise For The Mighty Walzer

“Poignant, moving, hilarious . . . laugh-out-loud funny . . . the sort of book that might change your life.”—Observer (UK)

“Jacobson is a great storyteller: phrases, anecdotes and atmosphere roll off the page with the ease and sublime, scary grace of drunken eels—he is unsurpassable.”—The Times (UK)

“This mature novel has the sustained exuberance and passion of his youthful writing . . . an achingly funny book . . . an amazing achievement . . . There are few novelists today who can imbue the trifles of life with such poetry.”—Independent (UK)

“Marvellous. Jacobson has not just written the first great novel about ping-pong. He has written one of the greatest sporting novels ever.”—Sunday Telegraph (UK)

“[Jacobson’s] humour is unashamedly savage and his jokes as sharp as a switch-blade . . . comic vitriol worthy of Evelyn Waugh.”—Express on Sunday (UK)


Saturday, Apr 2, 2011

In Howard Jacobson's 1999 novel The Mighty Walzer, which is now being published in the U.S., 14-year-old Oliver Walzer wins friends and confidence by playing table tennis. That is, he wins as much confidence as one can from playing pingpong. More at

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound