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ISBN: 978 1 857542 87 5
Categories: 20th Century, Jewish
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: September 1996
215 x 135 x 13 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Hardback
We swim in a sea of memories, but they only extend a few feet all around us. Cross that boundary, he said as the waiter appeared with a menu and we are in new territory, unknown realms...
'This is the istry of Moo Pak,' writes a schoolboy, struggling with his assignment as he sits in the Great Hall of Moor Park, now a secondary school. Once the home of Sir William Temple, here Swift wrote The Tale of the Tub and tutored the nine-year-old Stella. Later the building was a lunatic asylum, a college of theology, a code-breaking centre (during World War II), and an institute for the study of primate behaviour.
So Jack Toledano, a Sephardic Jew from Egypt and ex-University lecturer in English, tells his friend Damien Anderson in the course of innumerable walks through the parks and waterways of London during the 1980s. Toledano is writing a history of Moor Park which is also a history of himself and his times, of the Jews and the English. Moo Pak unfolds that history in an eloquent and breathless sweep, as Anderson strives to record what Toledano says and what he knows of his friend, a sweep that takes in man's relation to the great apes, the nature of language, Classicism and
Romanticism, Swift, Pope, madness, despair and death.
Moo Pak is a palimpsest not only of themes that have preoccupied Gabriel Josipovici in the past twenty-five years but of our civilisation itself, its dreams, achievements and repressions. And it is a simple, moving tale of friendship and its aftermath.
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