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, brimful of sparkling, unexpected characters, that takes on desire, faith, love, acting-and reincarnation.
In eighteenth-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 two hundred years later, Jacob is amazed to find himself reincarnated as a fly in the Long Island suburbs of twenty-first-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 the unique lens of Jacob's consciousness, Rebecca Miller explores change in all its different guises-personal, spiritual, literal. The hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, 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 brilliantly to life in the pages of this profoundly original novel.
Suspending disbelief is the biggest challenge of Miller's audacious new novel, not least because the Jacob of the title is a Jewish peddler from late 18th-century Paris who has been reincarnated on Long Island in the 21st as a fly. Jacob the fly becomes a kind of demon to a melancholy volunteer firefighter named Leslie and a lovely but conflicted Jewish actress named Masha. When Jacob realizes he can discern their dreams and influence their actions he determines to change their fates. The narrative buzzes back and forth through time, chronicling Jacob's shedding of his Jewish identity to become valet to the comte de Villars and, in time, an actor in the Com die-Fran aise, while keeping the reader abreast of the unraveling lives of Leslie and Masha. Scads of narrative threads are sewn together with impressive and often lovely wordplay to form a vast historical fabric of Jacob's Jewish family. Miller (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) almost takes the to and fro trajectories too far, but she is so clever when dwelling in the mind and body of that insect that the reader is rarely exasperated. An unusual and absorbing read.
The world has yet to discover her riches of talent
If you are ready to become an addict to the words & riches of wealth this book possesses then strap in, brace your minds & get ready for the beautiful impartation of wisdom this book has to offer. In other words, it will blow your faces off! ;)
Very different, well written, hard to put down. I'd love a sequel.