New York Times bestselling author Howard Jacobson cemented his sterling literary reputation by winning the prestigious Man Booker Prize. In Zoo Time, Jacobson delivers the shrewdly observed and highly comedic story of one man, two women, and an interesting (to say the least) marital dynamic.
Novelist Guy Ableman is in thrall to his vivacious wife Vanessa, a strikingly beautiful red-head, contrary, highly strung, and blazingly angry. The trouble is, he is no less in thrall to her alluring mother, Poppy. More like sisters than mother and daughter, they come as a pair, a blistering presence that destroys Guy’s peace of mind, suggesting the wildest stories but making it impossible for him to concentrate long enough to write any of them. Not that anyone reads Guy anyway. Not that anyone is reading anything. Reading, Guy fears, is finished. His publisher, fearing the same, has committed suicide. His agent, like all agents, is in hiding. Vanessa, in the meantime, is writing a novel of her own. Guy doesn’t expect her to finish it, or even start it, but he dreads the consequences if she does. In flight from personal disappointment and universal despair, Guy wonders if it’s time to take his love for Poppy to another level. Fiction might be dead, but desire isn’t. And out of that desire he imagines squeezing one more great book.
By turns angry, elegiac, and rude, Zoo Time is a novel about love—love of women, love of literature, love of laughter. It shows our funniest writer at his brilliant best.
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