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  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446412954
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Act of Love

'The Act of Love is naked, haunting, unflinching. Its account of sexual obsession is frightening, painful and finally very moving. A tour de force' - Harold Pinter

No man has ever loved a woman and not imagined her in the arms of someone else.

Felix Quinn calls himself a happy man. He owns one of London's oldest antiquarian bookshops. He is married to and adores the beautiful Marisa. But a childhood experience has taught him that loss is intrinsic to love, and Felix realises that he can only be truly happy if his wife is sleeping with another man. Enter Marius into Marisa's affections. And now Felix must ask himself, is he really happy?

By the winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446412954
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson has written sixteen novels and five works of non-fiction. He won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award in 2000 for The Mighty Walzer and then again in 2013 for Zoo Time. In 2010 he won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question; he was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for J.

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Praise for The Act of Love

A gloriously literary, highly wrought narrative as darkly transgressive, as savage in its brilliance, as anything Jacobson has written

Bel Mooney, The Times

The narrative is masterly. Entertaining as well as erudite, it prompts reflections upon art, obsession, masculinity, betrayal and the nature of the erotic...serves above all to confirm his creator's mighty individual talent. There surely cannot be a more vigorously intelligent novelist than Howard Jacobson writing in this country today

Sunday Telegraph

Howard Jacobson injects a kind of molten energy into English that makes it move like another language altogether...Obsession, hidden desires and the salacious thrill of voyeurism all play their part in this brawny tale of love's flagellant

Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail

A umbustious account of sexual obsession...Jacobson went up in my estimation as a witty and ribald chronicler of the human heart

Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

An impressively sustained, and unusually intense, literary experiment

Literary Review

He is a master of the comedy of social awkwardness... Jacobson is playing a sophisticated literary game, in this most literate of novels


Mesmerising...also as delightfully funny a novel as one would expect from Jacobson, who revels in language and in the perverse spell it can cast... The Act of Love is spellbinding, not just in its characterisation, or in its simplicity of plot, in the flirtatiousness with which Jacobson courts language, or the stylish sardonic humour that seems to come so easily, but in its entirety


The Act of Love, like Jacobson's other work, contains a rich vein of humour...Intelligent and erudite, Felix is a fascinating character

Financial Times

Jacobson's page-turning account of sexual obsession is replete with erudite flourishes and sophisticated insight

Emma Hagestadt, Independent

One of the author's most affecting, honest and brilliant works. It is a searingly well written piece by a ridiculously underrated novelist

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph

Entertaining...Jacobson's prose is incisive and off-kilter, abrasive and often hilarious

Richard Morrison, The Times

Felix Quinn, the narrator of the book...explains it beautifully - and this is a very good novel...Feeling unsafe makes him feel alive. And loss, of course, is the wellspring of good storytelling

William Leith, The Evening Standard

The Act of Love is an ambitious and at times extremely uncomfortable novel

Peter Scott, The Telegraph

It is an almost frighteningly brilliant achievement. Why did the Booker judges not recognise it?

Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

This is a very good novel

William Leith, Scotsman

Jacobson's 10th novel is a moving, thought-provoking and darkly witty story of desire and love

Eimear Ryan, Irish Times

It's Jacobson's genius that he uses Felix's perversion as a torture garden in which a hundred interlinked images, theories, arguments, stories and literary allusions flourish and blossom...Moving through this whirling phantasmagoria of ideas is like watching a conjuror keeping 42 multicoloured plates spinning...The Act of Love is a startling achievement: shocking, argumentative, funny, rude, querulous, intellectually bracing


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