No More Mr. Nice Guy
By Howard Jacobson
(Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 9781608196876, 272pp.)
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Frank Ritz is a television critic. His partner, Melissa Paul, is the author of pornographic novels for liberated women. He watches crap all day; she writes crap all day. It's a life. Or it was a life. Now they're fighting, locked in oral combat. He won't shut up, and she's putting her finger down her throat again. So there's only one thing to do: Frank has to go.
But go where? And do what? Frank Ritz has been in heat more or less continuously since he could speak his own name. Let him out of the house and his first instinct is to go looking for sex. Deviant sex, treacherous sex, even conventional sex, so long as it's immoderate-he's never been choosy. But what happens when sex is all you know and yet no longer what you want?
Praise from the UK for No More Mr. Nice Guy:
"Brilliant and funny…No More Mr. Nice Guy shows invention on every page, every paragraph. Jacobson is unique."-Evening Standard
"A very funny, very intelligent novel…How many of [Jacobson's] contemporaries have described the male condition with such wry, unsparing honesty?"-Sunday Telegraph
An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), The Act of Love, and, most recently, The Finkler Question, winner of the Man Booker Prize. Howard Jacobson lives in London.
"Frank Ritz is having the inverse of a midlife crisis. After a youth replete with free, unlimited sex, he finds at 50 that he wants none of it, even though he’s just been booted from a long-term relationship. Kicked out of his London home, he still has his Saab, and with "that old truant sensation of release from homework," he starts driving. As Frank visits the towns where he had various liaisons, the story becomes a remembrance of vaginas past. Mr. Jacobson, who won the 2010 Man Booker Prize for "The Finkler Question," is shockingly funny. Meaning: Not only are his jokes ferocious (an Ethiopian prostitute is said to have "famine legs"), but they are consistently hilarious too. If only most of them weren’t too raunchy to quote."—Susannah Meadows, New York Times "Jacobson, who won the Man Booker for The Finkler Question, writes like a Jewish Evelyn Waugh. Laugh-out-loud observations abound." —Publishers Weekly "[An] entertaining, sexually laden picaresque…A lovely, lively novel for all its sometimes bitter view of the war between the sexes; impeccably written, and without a false note." —Kirkus Reviews