©2008 Howard Jacobson; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
I read 'The Very Model of a Man' by Howard Jacobson years ago, and his incredibly deft use of language stayed with me.
The Act of Love is no different. Jacobson's writing is breathtaking. His imagery is fierce and fresh and punches through the reader's assumptions. He also skillfully and mercilessly lays bare the very human and very flawed heart of man.
This is the story of a driven, emotionally masochistic man. Although the character is extreme, the story pushes us to ask questions about ourselves. About possession, jealousy, belonging and, in a strange way, the things in life we seek out to make us feel vital and alive.
I can't recommend this book enough. It's magnificent.
I am a great admirer of Howard Jacobson's writing, Some have considered him the English Philip Roth. To me he is far a better writer -- wiser, more perceptive. But this is certainly not the Howard Jacobson of books like Kalooki Nights and The Finkler Question. It isn't the writing nor the excellent narrator that I found so unpleasant -- just the theme of the novel. Proceed with caution. There are so many other Jacobson books far more worthy of being offered in audio.
I liked that The Act of Love was written in first person from an intelligent character's point of view, the masculine character. It was a psychological inner look at an unusual way of seeing a marriage. The main character by doing this, distanced himself from the act of loving his wife, and observed both himself, her, and her lover from outside himself, and inside as he talked about his own feelings. The characters were all quite well drawn and interesting in themselves. The language used by Jacobson was very literate, and provoked a reminder of the excellent use of the English language.
The ending was somewhat minimal, but then the story had been ending all throughout the book.
Mike Grady does an excellent job narrating the different characters, and made the story real.
Be careful what you wish for!
I guess i should have expected this to be tedius, i knew it was about a man's obsession, but he really goes on and on about a world that is primarily inside his head... I thought it would be interesting, but ultimately, it felt excessive and pointless. I usually read crime fiction, so this was a departure for me, but not a good one.
Was enthralled all the way through but was then let down by the abrupt ending.
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