Jacob's Folly: Book summary and reviews of Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller

Jacob's Folly

A Novel

By Rebecca Miller

Jacob's Folly
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

A luminous novel—funny and moving in equal measure—that shines with the author's unique talents

Jacob's Folly is a rollicking, ingenious, saucy book that takes on desire, faith, love, acting—and reincarnation.

The novel brims with sparkling, unexpected characters: Jacob, a Jewish peddler living in eighteenth-century France; Leslie and Deirdre Senzatimore, a settled American couple; Masha, an alluring young Ultra-Orthodox Jew, who is also gravely ill. In Rebecca Miller's self-assured second novel, these four individuals will find their fates intertwined when Jacob is reincarnated as a fly in contemporary Long Island. and reincarnation.

Miller's quirky humor and acute, original intelligence animate a wonderfully memorable protagonist. Through the unique lens of Jacob's consciousness, she explores transformation in all its different guises—personal, spiritual, literal. As she considers the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, and the collision of fate and free will, Miller's world—which is our own, transfigured by her clear gaze and by her sharp, surprising wit—comes to life. Leslie's desire to act as hero and rescuer; Jacob's disastrous marriage to the childlike Hodel and his obsession with Masha—Miller sketches her characters' interior lives with compassion, subtlety, and an exceptionally light touch. Jacob's Folly is wildly inventive and ultimately moving; it will leave the reader, no less than its characters, transformed.

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"Starred Review. A challenging read, yet remarkably entertaining and ultimately gripping." - Kirkus Reviews

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Rebecca Miller is the author of the short-story collection Personal Velocity, her feature-film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, which she also adapted for the screen. She lives in New York and Ireland with her family.

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