The Act of Love, By Howard Jacobson

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The Independent Culture

Felix Quinn, the narrator of Howard Jacobson's tenth novel, is from a long line of Marylebone antiquarian booksellers. A seemingly contented man of the world, he harbours a secret perversion – he not only longs for his wife to find a lover, but arranges for it to happen.

"No man has ever loved a woman, and not imagined her in the arms of someone else," he informs us. "No husband is ever happy – truly, genitally happy, happy at the very heart of himself as a husband – until he has proof positive that another man is fucking her." Jacobson's page-turning account of sexual obsession is replete with erudite flourishes and sophisticated insight.