A mercurial comic stylist and former Booker Prize winner, Jacobson is at his most tender-hearted in this sprightly account of pensioner passion and life’s last chances. Wickedly funny and emotionally acute, Live a Little is another winner from a literary master craftsman.
At the age of ninety-something, Beryl Dusinbery is forgetting everything - including her own children. She spends her days stitching morbid samplers and tormenting her two long-suffering carers, Nastya and Euphoria, with tangled stories of her husbands and love affairs.
Shimi Carmelli can do up his own buttons, walks without the aid of a frame and speaks without spitting. Among the widows of North London, he's whispered about as the last of the eligible bachelors. Unlike Beryl, he forgets nothing - especially not the shame of a childhood incident that has hung over him like an oppressive cloud ever since.
There's very little life remaining for either of them, but perhaps just enough to heal some of the hurt inflicted along the way, and find new meaning in what's left.
Told with Jacobson's trademark wit and style, Live a Little is in equal parts funny, irreverent and tender - a novel to make you consider all the paths not taken, and whether you could still change course.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 29 mm
'Howard Jacobson is a rather rare bird among contemporary novelists, for he devotes himself to...the great cause of cheering us all up... The novel is carried along on waves of conversations and a zest for life... what a relief to come on a novel which invites you to smile and even laugh.' - The Scotsman
'Live a Little is a meander of a novel that nonetheless feels urgent... for all of its moments of bleakness, and the occasional flicker of genuine terror, it's rarely less than bitterly funny in its determination to face up to the obliteration that awaits us all.' - The Guardian
'A thoroughly enjoyable read. For a literature snob and a language obsessive...there is a lot to feast on...for someone looking for an emotionally honest storyline, the book also delivers. Live a Little is about growing old, but it's also about gender, race, love and politics, penned in a playful, genuine, sometimes borderline offensive way... the genius...is that it manages to indulge in so much wordplay and biting political commentary.' - Independent
'Fast and clever... As the narrative develops, the plot twists more and more...and the past is harder to shake off... The novel's brilliant cover tells it all: hearts and skulls, love and death.' - The Jewish Chronicle