The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson - review by Sam Leith

Sam Leith

Courting Cuckoldry

The Act of Love


Jonathan Cape 320pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

What a strange and unpredictable writer Howard Jacobson is. His last outing, Kalooki Nights, was a warm, baggy, digressive, multitude-containing comic novel. And he has followed it up with an introverted, sparsely populated, geometrically put-together little drama of sexual neurosis. It is as if Philip Roth (the writer to whom Jacobson is endlessly compared, and whom he resembles at his most expansive) went to bed one evening and awoke from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into Vladimir Nabokov.

‘All husbands secretly want their wives to be unfaithful to them.’ That is the postulate picked out for the jacket copy. Is it true? Most people wouldn't say so. I don't expect Jacobson would say so either. But it's what his narrator, Felix Quinn, would have us believe – and

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