Book Review: ‘Jacob’s Advice’ by Jude Cook

A Meditation on Race, Ageing, and Marital Breakdown

Identity is one of the most contentious issues of our day. Whereas some public intellectuals like Lionel Shriver have argued that identity politics are, by their nature, racist. Others have claimed that increasing representation of historically marginalised groups in certain areas will make for a more equitable society.

Among the talk of getting more female CEOs and a higher proportion of BAME cyclists, one minority group that is discussed less frequently is the Jewish community. ‘Jacob’s Advice’, Jude Cook’s second novel, was inspired by the author marrying a Jewish woman. It is a melancholy, minor-key narrative of two middle-aged men in Paris, one whose marriage has recently failed, another who is hopeful of marrying someone much younger than himself.

Narrator Nick is largely detached and defeated, observing ‘you get to a certain age when you realise you’ve had your future. It’s called your past.’ Reflecting on the declined relationship with the mother of his son, he realises ‘I have never knowingly manipulated another, but have laid myself bare to be manipulated by others’. You can read the whole review here.

I am passionate about creative activities like songwriting and prose fiction, and the mechanics behind how a piece succeeds or fails. That is why I like to review other artists’ work. If you have an album, book, or other work you want reviewing, please don’t hesitate to hit me up on mcgeary at gmail dot com