The Act of Love: Book summary and reviews of The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

The Act of Love

A Novel

By Howard Jacobson

The Act of Love
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2009,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

In a stunning follow-up to his much-heralded masterpiece, Kalooki Nights, Howard Jacobson has turned his mordant and uncanny sights on Felix Quinn, a rare-book dealer living in London, whose wife Marisa is unfaithful to him.

All husbands, Felix maintains, secretly want their wives to be unfaithful to them. Felix hasn't always thought this way. From the moment of his first boyhood rejection, surviving the shattering effects of love and jealousy had been the study of his life. But while he is honeymooning with Marisa in Florida an event occurs that changes everything. In a moment, he goes from dreading the thought of someone else's hands on the woman he loves to thinking about nothing else. Enter Marius into Marisa's affections. And now Felix must wonder if he really is a happy man.

The Act of Love is a haunting novel of love and jealousy, with stylish prose that crackles and razor-sharp dialogue, praised by the London Times as "darkly transgressive, as savage in its brilliance, as anything Jacobson has written." It is a startlingly perceptive, subtle portrait of a marriage and an excruciatingly honest, provocative exploration of sexual obsession.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In his naughtily erudite 10th novel, British author Jacobson (Kalooki Nights) explores the nature of the erotic with a wicked twist." - Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week.

"While the novel will not be to everyone's taste, it will definitely appeal to the literati." - Library Journal.

"Starred Review. A robust novel—preposterous, disturbing and dazzlingly written. " - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Howard Jacobson Author Biography

Photo: Jenny Jacobson

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 The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights, the highly acclaimed The Act of Love, Zoo Time, and The Finkler Question, which won the Man Booker Prize. Whatever It Is, I Don't Like It is a compilation of his columns and In the Land of Oz is an account of his travels in Australia.

Howard Jacobson lives in London.

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