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Extended Audio Sample J: A Novel, by Howard Jacobson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Howard Jacobson Narrator: Adjoa Andoh, Colin Mace Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Set in a world where collective memory has vanished and the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a boldly inventive love story, both tender and terrifying.

Kevern Cohen doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly beautiful Ailinn Solomons arrives in his village by a sea that laps no other shore, Kevern is instantly drawn to her. Although mistrustful by nature, the two become linked as if they were meant for each other. Together they form a refuge from the commonplace brutality that is the legacy of a historic catastrophe shrouded in suspicion, denial, and apology, simply referred to as What happened, if it happened. To Ailinn’s guardian, Esme Nussbaum, Ailinn and Kevern are fragile shoots of hopefulness. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme is determined to keep them together—whatever the cost.

In this stunning, evocative, and terribly heartbreaking work, where one couple’s love affair could have shattering consequences for the human race, Howard Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating cautionary tale about the paradoxical dangers of assimilation and tranquility.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A masterwork of imagination flavored with grief.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Jacobson…goes from strength to strength. This is a new departure: futuristic, dystopian, not, it seems, the world as we know it. But as we peer through the haze we see something take shape. It’s horrible. It’s monstrous. Read this for yourself and you’ll see what it is.”

    Evening Standard (London)

  • “Contemporary literature is overloaded with millenarian visions of destroyed landscapes and societies in flames, but Jacobson has produced one that feels frighteningly new by turning the focus within: the ruins here are the ruins of language, imagination, love itself.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • J is a dystopia that invites comparison with George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Remarkable…Comparisons do not do full justice to Jacobson’s achievement in what may well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “J is a snarling, effervescent, and ambitious philosophical work of fiction that poses unsettling questions about our sense of history, and our self-satisfied orthodoxies. Jacobson’s triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling from the debris.”

    Independent (London)

  • “[J]’s success owes much to the fine texture of its dystopia… As a conspiracy yarn examining the manipulation of collective memory, J has legs, and it’s well worth its place on this year’s Man Booker longlist… Jacobson has crafted an immersive, complex experience with care and guile.”

    Observer (London)

  • “Readers…will find plenty to think and talk about in Jacobson’s remarkable, disturbing book.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A pleasure, as reading Jacobson always is.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Jacobson’s fusion of village comedy and dystopian sci-fi is a tour de force.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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