The Mighty Walzer, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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 so adept, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis Team and stalwart of the Kardomah coffee bar, his game improves.

Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A coming of age tale set in England, growing up with ping pong and finding one's place in the world. An interesting premise, i wanted to like this book, but it was a bit dry and I was unable to pick it up once I had put it down. Too bad though. The writing was pretty solid, I can see how some might enjoy it, and I didn't find the Yiddish all that distracting as some have said, most of it you could guess at the meaning pretty easily. This is one I'd like to finish, but there are just other books I'd prefer to read.

Review by

There's a lot to almost like in The Might Walzer and it's a novel I tried my darndest to like as well, but in the end I just couldn't make the leap. It's just too rambling, too random, and too full of subplots that never seem to go anywhere. The protagonist is bland. He's not likeable enough to root for, not dislikeable enough that you're waiting for his comeuppance. He's just there. The situations he's in just happen. There's really no narrative thrust throughout the novel, just a lot of "and this happenened, then this happened", etc.As for the ping-pong, maybe I've been trained by other sports novels like Shoeless Joe and Fever Pitch to expect that if a book contains a sport, then the sport is meaningful to the plot, that there will be parallels between the game and life, that there will be life lessons. Instead, there's just ping-pong as something to fill the pages. It could have been any sport. It just seems so superfluous.It's obvious that Jacobson has talent as a writer. The wordplay and pacing work quite well. But other than that, there is little to recommend this book.

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