Zoo Time


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Jacobson, Howard
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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.





“Carries all the intimations of angst, melancholia and comedy that make Jacobson unique” –  Daily Telegraph

“When he's at full throttle like this, few British novelists can touch him for such stirring, belligerent comedy ... Jacobson's attack on our growing philistinism proving uncomfortably persuasive” –  Daily Mail

“Comedy is never as clever as when Howard Jacobson is on a roll and this book finds him barrelling” – Independent on Sunday

“Seriously funny” – Alexei Sayle, Daily Telegraph

“Does not fail to offer Jacobson's trademark pleasures, his wit, his energy his love of words - and some will add his self-deprecating priapic jokes to this list” – New Statesmen

“Brilliantly composed ... crackling with Jacobson's wit, superb wordplay and boundless exuberance” – Times Literary Supplement

“All the trademark Jacobson qualities - waspish comedy, transgressive sex, wry riffs on Jewishness, prose so scintillating you might miss its underlying artistry - are here in spades *****” – The Mail on Sunday

“You don't read Jacobson for a restrained and respectful delineation of what goes on between men and women; you read him for a no-holds-barred, bawdy and highly naughty glimpse into what we're all really thinking about doing to one another. And for the jokes, of which Zoo Time has plenty” – Guardian Summer Reading

“Once again, Jacobson shows that the true humorist is among the best kinds of novelist. His humour is neither cheap nor chirpy but addresses fundamental mysteries” – Sunday Telegraph

“A fiercely intelligent, fizzing piece of theatre ... An intellectually rich depiction of the animal desires that drive us, and the human feelings that elevate and sadden us ... In Guy Ableman, Jacobson has created an unforgettable narrator, a character defined by heroic flaws and tender, susceptible heart ... Magnificently eclectic in its range of targets,Zoo Time is a bestiary of bêtes noir. Few modern novelists better balance the absurd with the artistic, the priapic with the philosophical, the wicked with the wise ... a scorching indictment of an anti-intellectual age in which most readers are greedy for pap, and those who want more than a sugared bun passed to them through the bars are doomed to starve” – Sunday Herald

“Zoo Time is wonderfully witty, ferociously clever and assured to the point of swaggering - he's clever enough to tease his readers without taking his eyes off the road” – Kate Saunders, Jewish Chronicle

“There were many moments when I roared with laughter 
” – Readers Digest

“Always zestful and occasionally bang on target” – Sunday Times (Ireland)

“Angry, funny and profoundly pessimistic fiction” – Prospect

“He does have an ear in the Joycean or Tennysonian sense of writing prose that rings out, that sounds good in your head as you're reading” – Literary Review

“As sharp and intelligent as it is enjoyable” – Stylist

“Brilliant, blistering comedy, with melancholy undertones of regret for what is being lost” – Kate Saunders, The Times

“Ableman's every beautifully constructed comic riff is a response to his fear of not being read ****” – Sunday Express

“Jacobson fills the tale with exuberant comedy. He has a stand-up's skill for callbacks, puns and quips, which make Zoo Time a total riot” – Time Out

“Jacobson takes the time to craft lines that are so perfectly executed, they deserve to be read twice. Possibly even aloud, to fully appreciate the comedic value of his prose ... humour still drips off every page ... Fascinating, often hilarious ****” – The List

“Jacobson is a master of keep-up-at-the-back smart talk” – Evening Standard

“Buoyant comedy of gritty life, great literature and a good laugh” – Iain Finlayson, Saga

“It's also joyously rude about almost everything and filled with delicious invective. Just relax and go with it - it's Zoo Time” – We Love This Book

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