From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his naughtily erudite 10th novel, British author Jacobson (Kalooki Nights) explores the nature of the erotic with a wicked twist. Narrator Felix Quinn, a fusty antiquarian bookseller in contemporary London, wants to cuckold himself in order to save his marriage and give himself the freedom to be jealous. The unwitting but willing participant in Felix's scheme, Marius, is a libertine without scruples: he first appears in the tale some years previously, letching after two underage girls while attending the funeral of a man whose wife he had seduced. As for Felix's wife, Marisa, she embraces the infidelity foisted on her with gusto, relishing her thrice-weekly assignations and, after much persuasion, titillating her curious husband with details of their intimacies. Though Felix's narration is disconcertingly mannered, he's remarkably honest and blisteringly funny, while Jacobson's prose is sharp as ever, loaded with spiky dialogue and wonderfully arch observations. (Mar.)
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Antiquarian bookseller Felix Quinn is sophisticated, intelligent, and a proper English gentleman in all ways but one: he longs to see his wife, Marisa, in the arms of another man. When his masochistic matchmaking results in Marisa’s affair with a brooding writer, Felix is both tortured and tickled by their tryst—begging Marisa for details of their sexual encounters and obsessing over their interactions. Yet, like Philip Roth’s David Kepesh in The Dying Animal (2001), recently made into the feature film Elegy, Felix can never be satisfied unless he has Marisa to himself and, thus, becomes increasingly jealous and conflicted over his wife’s affair. The book is mostly concerned with Felix’s sexual fetishism and remains disappointingly reticent about the inner life of Marisa, who is meticulously described but barely allowed to speak. Jacobson conjures a twisted yet sophisticated love story here, walking a thin line between humor and erotica and often blending the two. --Heather Paulson
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