From the author of the Richard and Judy best seller The Private Lives of Pippa Lee comes a brilliantly original novel about desire, faith, love, acting – and reincarnation. In 18th-century Paris, Jacob Cerf is a Jew, a peddler of knives, saltcellars, and snuffboxes. Despite a disastrous teenage marriage, he is determined to raise himself up in life, by whatever means he can.
More than 200 years later, Jacob is amazed to find himself reincarnated as a ﬂy in the Long Island suburbs of 21st-century America, his new life twisted in ways he could never have imagined. But even the tiniest of insects can influence the turning of the world, and thanks to his arrival, the lives of a reliable volunteer fireman and a young Orthodox Jewish woman nursing a secret ambition will never be the same.
Through her wonderfully memorable protagonist, Rebecca Miller considers the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, and the collision of fate and free will. InJacob's Folly, Miller's world - which is our own, transfigured by her clear gaze and by her sharp, surprising wit - comes spectacularly to life.
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. Her other films include Angela and The Ballad of Jack and Rose. She is married to the actor Daniel Day Lewis and lives in New York and Ireland.
I often buy books without knowing much about the author or the story, so I try to be as open as possible to books I may not otherwise buy. This means I may read books I don't particularly enjoy, but I rarely feel as though I've wasted my time.
This book was well written and although I didn't enjoy it, it wasn't a complete chore to read. I simply found I couldn't make a connection with any of the characters and so I really couldn't care about their plights. I think perhaps if I was from a different culture or more religious the work may have had a greater impact. I read the book from start to finish in a neutral emotional state then started my next book immediately without feeling I should let the impact of this book settle in.
The narrator didn't get in the way of the story.
Where does Jacob's Folly rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Oh for heavens sake. This is STILL a stupid question. Who ranks books in order???
What was one of the most memorable moments of Jacob's Folly?
Oh I give up. I'm not reviewing any more. I can't cope with these questions.
I wasn't sure whether I would enjoy this book because I never finished Rebecca Miller's last one. And to start with I wasn't that engaged, but I was gradually drawn in by two aspects. First was the wonderful detail of what life was like for Jews in 17th century France - the restrictions and the rituals, the superstitions and the whole lifestyle. Then there was Masha - a modern young woman growing up in an orthodox Jewish home and environment, but drawn to acting and longing for freedom. I'm not sure that the man being reincarnated as a (possibly demonic) fly,who thinks he is influencing the central characters, really worked for me. It seemed a bit of an artificial way to link 17th century Jewish life with modern life - Jewish and secular. But it was still well-written and absorbing.
I find Adam Sims a bit grating as a narrator. Also, there were two occasions when he says something which is part of the recording process rather than the actual narration, which got left in by accident. This made me quite aware of him as reader and rather pulled me out of the flow.
There was a lot to like about this book but I can't help feeling that this author's ability is slightly hyped by the reviews.