Friday, March 11, 2016

Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson

Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson is an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare; however, since I have not read the original Shakespeare in about 15 years I am going to review this as a stand-alone with no comparisons or analysis regarding the adaptation.
The relationship between the two groups of characters, the fathers and the children, is written broadly enough that the reader doesn’t get bogged down in characters but finite enough that each individual does stand out.  Once the main characters are introduced, the dynamic is immediately understood.  This makes the story easier to tell because there’s less exposition needed, so the narration is able to move a lot faster.

I thought the character of Shylock was a sort of manifestation of Strulovitch’s own insecurities, and to a point still do even though he did have a role in the narrative.  Shylock, for the most part, served as the Jew on Strulovitch’s shoulder, constantly trying to direct his actions.  The reason for Shylock’s interest in Strulovitch is the similarity between them, for Shylock also lost his daughter to gentiles.
For me, this became a lesson in keeping an open mind, learning from those around you, and knowing what love is.
Masterful work by Howard Jacobson truly enjoyable.