The Act of Love
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The Act of Love

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In a stunning follow-up to his much-heralded masterpiece, Kalooki Nights, acclaimed author Howard Jacobson has turned his mordant and uncanny sights on Felix Quinn, a rare-book dealer living in London, whose wife Marisa is unfaithful to him.

All husbands, Felix maintains, secretly want their wives to be unfaithful to them. Felix hasn't always thought this way. From the mo...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2008)
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Felix Quinn is not your ordinary cuckold, not some unknowing husband safe in his ignorance or one tormented by suspicion or doubt. No, Felix is the DSM-IV-TR variety. Cuckoldry is his fetish, and to massage it he connives to mate his wife Marisa with the handsome stranger Marius.

A creepy topic, sure, but no more so than, say, pedophilia. And Jacobson channels Nabokov, even if he does not quite match him. This is a fascinating, if uncomfortable, examination of a true pervert. But an intelligent,...more
A banal, implausible little book that caused me to invent the new genre: "Books I finished reading only because I was stuck on a plane."

Take this principle - "I enjoyed the idea of my wife with another man, though I simultaneously felt conflicted and repelled by my own excitement" - and hyperextend it far beyond its natural lifespan into boring, mantra-like repetition and you have arrived at The Act of Love.
Max Sebastian
The Act of Love is a very interesting book, beautifully written, but highly desexualized and starved of real feeling considering the nature of the subject it details, in favour of a more rational, academic analysis and explanation of the kind of man who would give up his wife for another.

There’s plenty of conflicts in this book, I suppose as there would be for the cuckold depicted. The narrator wanted to justify himself by saying that to some extent all men have thoughts of letting their wives...more
One of the best written books I've ever had the displeasure of slogging through. I started this book at the end of OCT, and after many re-shelvings of the book, I decided to take it down and finish it today. The writing is extremely good; very literate. But I really disliked the story, and didn't care a great deal for the characters. The main character played a very weak person IMO. I didn't like his motives or actions, but he was well written. I also didn't care for the "plot" of the book, but...more
Carmen Daza Márquez
Curioso el cambio del título, del original "El acto de amor" (The Act of Love) al español "Un acto de amor". Como si la novela tratara de un caso concreto, de la forma peculiar en la que Felix Quinn experimenta el amor hacia su esposa, y no del acto de amor en general. Felix intenta convencer al lector durante toda la novela de que el suyo no es un caso aislado, y que la mayor diferencia entre él y la mayoría de los otros hombres es que él tiene el valor de enfrentarse cara a cara con sus fantas...more
This is a book about sexual perversion - mainly about the narrator's desire to be a cuckold. So after stealing the luscious Marisa away from her first husband, Felix marries her, then contrives for her to take a lover. The plot continues from there, But the plot is somewhat irrelevant, just a devise for Jacobson to expostulate on the theme of perversion. Jacobson is a towering intellectual, extremely well read and literate - his books challenge the reader. But on page 206, the narrator (Felix) d...more
Mark Kennedy
Jacobsen is a witty, literate writer and this novel dives in to explore where love, lust and passion intersect. Of course it is from a male view, those wanting a fully faceted tale can skip this and save themselves some grunts and groans. I was quite taken with the protaganist, Felix Quinn. A husband I could secretly aspire to be, all due to his literary, musical and artistic knowledge, of course.
If you need to be reminded that a sexy life of perpetual longing comes from the mind not the heart,...more
Wonderfully selfish, sexy and bitter.
Robert Wechsler
A joy to read. It’s so much better written than the earlier novel of his that I read. It’s a narrative of obsession, and Jacobson seems to revel in obsession. The obsession is with arranging for his wife to cuckold him, to be in control of what he sees as inevitable. It’s fine entertainment.
Barb S.
I enjoyed this book although I had to struggle through at some points. It is well written but seems to meander a lot while getting around to the point of telling the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and it seemed to get better & better the further I read.
Some beautiful language and characterisation.

"Art is good for softening a hard herat, but when you are already pulp, art is not what you need. silence is what you need. A wordless dark....."

Jealousy and obsession drive this main character's whole life. I couldn't get past the obsessive documentation of the man he wants to set up to seduce his wife.
Strange. Though the novel is about obsession, it's written from a very removed point of view. I thought it would have more substance.
Martin Feinstein
Cuckolding, the ultimate fantasy, in upper middle class London, intellectualised and painstakingly analysed.
Nicky Jones
Very unusual tale beautifully written. How to get right under the skin of a character.
Please deliver me from the interminable wingeing of grumpy middle aged men!
I gave up the ghost - reads way too much like an un-enjoyable classic .
unbelievable and obsessive in style and substance. majorly quoteworthy.
Once again - boring characters - so didn't finish the book
J.A. Carter-Winward
This should have won the Man Booker. This was amazing.
Not a single mention of Manchester (north or south).
More than the racy summer read I was expecting!
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Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, England, and educated at Cambridge. His many novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Who’s Sorry Now? and Kalooki Nights (both longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), and, most recently, The Act of Love. Jacobson is also a respected critic and broadcaster, and writes a weekly column for the Independent. He lives in...more
More about Howard Jacobson...
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