Howard Jacobson spins a world from 'Kalooki Nights'

Howard Jacobson
Howard Jacobson's novel "Kalooki Nights" is a bittersweet examination of life in the Jewish community in Britain.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

Kalooki (pronounced kah-LOO-kee) is central to British novelist Howard Jacobson's new book.

What's Kalooki you ask?

It's a card game that's a bit like canasta, in as much as no one really knows the rules, so you get to argue. He remembers his mother's friends playing.

Jacobson says it's a great way to describe the British Jewish community where he grew up, and he uses it in his new comic novel "Kalooki Nights." It tells the story of a cartoonist living in Manchester, England.

The book explores the joys and frustrations Max Glickman's experiences living in the city's small but complicated Jewish community.

Howard Jacobson told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr the book began as a reaction to a conversation. It was with an Orthodox Jew who recognized Jacobson as a writer.

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