This month's selection: Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller
"Miller embeds readers in the outsized consciousness of a fly, the modern reincarnation of Jacob, a Jewish peddler taken from eighteenth-century Paris and stripped of his identity. Via an enigmatic capacity to enter minds, the fly encourages young, Orthodox Masha's forbidden stage aspirations while simultaneously inciting a botched bid to "rescue" her. Because of consistent narration, Miller's intricate plots are never confusing. Rather, they are foils across time and space, offering measurements of survival, belonging, inheritance, the cost of transformation—whether coerced or voluntary—and outcome's overpowering of intention. Jacob acts undetected by his targets, but a far more inscrutable figure reveals his role in the satisfying conclusion. The novel breathes sensuality, creating sounds of languages mixing in dusty streets, the feeling of being bareheaded, without yarmulke, for the first time, and even an orange's distinctive smell. Readers will chuckle contentedly and without malice at a violent, life-affirming death. A deeply pleasurable, darkly comic, and original reinterpretation of Jewish history's "indestructible storyline," alighting thoughtfully on forces both individual and collective, internal and external, from genocide to assimilation." (Booklist Starred Review)
JRC's Book Group typically meets the second Sunday of every month from Sept-May and once in the summertime. Everyone is welcome to attend, although we do ask that you read the selected book in advance, so as to fully participate in and enjoy the conversation. For more information - including the location of this month's meeting - contact JRC member Jill Berkeley Goldman at [email protected].
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