- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 24, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312243065
- ISBN-13: 978-0312243067
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,537,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jacob's Hands: A Fable Paperback – September 24, 1999
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Aldous Huxley is the author of several classics, including Brave New World and Chrome Yellow. Among Christopher Isherwood's many books are The Berlin Stories, which was the basis for the musical Cabaret, and The Memorial.
Top customer reviews
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This is a short book, an easy read in an hour's time. As such, it is hard to say too much without giving it all away. Jacob is a good, honest, decent, sound, strapping young man. The kind of man that sees no ill will in others because he has none in himself. He learns as a farmhand on a California ranch that he has the power to heal. The power makes other love him, suspect him, and ultimately exploit him. He loves Sharon, the daughter of his former boss on the ranch. He meets Earl, a young millionaire with need of his healing powers. The three of them form a triangle that sort of reminds me of the ending of Ethan Frome (don't ask me why, though, since it's kind of a stretch).
The overriding theme, I believe, of the book is this question: is it more important to heal the soul or to heal the body? Are they ultimately connected or mutually exclusive? There is also some discussion of how sometimes we hold on to our illness, our weakness; we are wont to let them go. Because somehow they come to define us, and we survive more with the fear than we can live without it.
There is a brief introduction to the book by Aldous' wife, Laura Archera Huxley. It is useful in the fact that she gives some background into Aldous' thoughts on healing and the moral and religious implications of such a gift. It helps to set an informed backdrop to this interesting and thought-provoking fable.
I agree with the writer below who notes that Jacob reminds him of Lenny in Steinbeck's work. He's not retarded, but he's immune to the lures of wealth and privilege. Despite the material promises stemming from his incredible ability to heal, he just wants a simple life with Sharon, the fallen character. Jacob has always loved Sharon -- the moment he cures her of her childhood disease, she literally runs off to be a singer. When Jacob finds her years later, they have the chance to go back and live in the "desert" (so many biblical allusions and overtones), but Sharon cannot give up the money left to her by a rich benefactor who was cured by Jacob but killed by his own inability to give up his disease.
The writing is vivid and reads very much like the screenplay that it is. There is something very moving about Jacob's simplicity and inability to be corrupted. A powerful little fable, worthy of rediscovery.
Jabob reminds me of myself years ago when I had the opportunity to heal but decided to choose a different path for my life which I found to be in my best interest. It's a difficult choice and this story, told in the first person, makes it much more realistic. As Jacob finds out you can only heal those who want to be healed. The body can be healed but Jabob only wanted to heal the body if the soul & heart are healed, too. A wise choice. I'm glad I discovered this book and truly enjoyed it. Highly Recommended!