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Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller

Jacob's Folly

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March 2014 Book of the Month.

From the author of the Richard and Judy bestseller, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, comes a brilliantly original novel about love, family and human folly. Through her wonderfully memorable protagonist, Rebecca Miller considers the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, and the collision of fate and free will.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Jacob's Folly a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'What an incredible book!...Rebecca Miller has written an unusual and entertaining story that I just had to keep reading to the end.' - Carolyn Huckfield. Scroll down to read more reviews.


Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller

Masha Edelman yearns for a life on the stage and to escape her strict religious family. Miles away, in a safe suburban neighbourhood, family man Leslie Senzatimore longs to be a hero. They have little idea of what lies ahead for them. Through a cosmic slight of hand enters Jacob, a man who has travelled a long way through time, and is determined to make his mark on the lives of these two strangers. What follows is a rollicking, sparkling story of kinship, freedom and belonging.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Jacob's Folly. You can read their reviews below.

Carolyn Huckfield - What an incredible book! ...Rebecca Miller has written an unusual and entertaining story that I just had to keep reading to the end.' Click here to read the full review.

Catherine Larner - 'It's a fascinating, puzzling, amusing and, at times, unsettling novel which can be enjoyed on many different levels and, while the exquisite writing should be savoured, the intriguing plot lures the reader on.' Click here to read the full review.

Nailah Afghan - 'What a splendid, unique and utterly original story! It made me laugh out loud and kept me turning the pages...A tale which is complex without being complicated. Brilliant, highly recommended.' Click here to read the full review.

Megan Olwen Williams - 'Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller is a unique and truly original story. Never have I read a novel that encompasses so many different worlds and lives, and manage to paint such a gloriously colourful riveting picture with them.' Click here to read the full review.

Ruth Paterson - 'Jacob’s Folly is a truly good read...The novel is full of vivid descriptions and characterisations that made me understand Jacob and feel fully immersed in the stories... I thoroughly enjoyed this book.' Click here to read the full review.

William Alexander - 'Jacob’s Folly is an enticing, original read. Rebecca Miller manages to engage the reader by slowly dripping anticipation and unanswered questions as the narrative unfolds.' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'Jacob's Folly is an ambitious literary novel that hits the mark...She has an impressive capacity to build a compelling backstory for her characters so that you really know them and understand why they get into the mess that they do.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Thornton - 'I found this novel quite challenging, funny and a unique read...What an amazing book which gives a very interesting and enlightening look at the Jewish way of life.' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'From Paris to New York, this delightful book will have you spellbound...A most enjoyable tale with vibrant colourful characters.' Click here to read the full review.

Maureen Evans - An intriguing tale that moves the reader back and forth between sympathetic protagonist Jacob’s experiences as a Jewish peddler in eighteenth century Paris and those in his very different reincarnation in twenty first century America...An absorbing read that kept me enthralled until the end.' Click here to read the full review.

Lynn Curtis - 'A highly imaginative, occasionally unsettling maverick of a book told from the point of view of Jacob Cerf, an eighteenth-century pedlar turned actor, reincarnated in the twenty-first century as an inquisitive, all-seeing house fly!' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'This is an entertaining book, with some vivid images, particularly in Jacob’s wry narration of his colourful experiences in France and his later incarnation...Thought-provoking.' Click here to read the full review.

'Jacob's Folly is an extraordinary book. Miller's writing is vigorous, powerful and riveting. I was constantly surprised by the flights and dips of narrative, and its complexity, while from start to finish her wit and the clear, true characters kept the book grounded. A magnificent achievement' -- Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast

'Jacob's Folly is a wonderful book - fresh, original, always surprising, with delightfully drawn characters. Rebecca Miller is an excellent novelist' -- Kate Atkinson

'A highly imaginative exercise that turns out to be comic, raucous and tender, sometimes all at once' - Sunday Telegraph

'Miller's prose is rich. Eccentric, witty, highly original' - The Times

'Original and imaginative, this beautifully written novel is a witty and moving read; magical realism darkly filtered through a European eye' - Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Miller worked as a painter and actress before becoming a writer and director. She is the author of the short story collection Personal Velocity, her feature film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and also directed The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which starred her husband Daniel Day-Lewis, and Angela. She lives in Ireland and New York with her family.

Author photo © Gene Page

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Book Info

Publication date

6th March 2014


Rebecca Miller

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Canongate Books Ltd


384 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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