Sam and Lily are middle-aged lovers in Howard Jacobson’s new novel and, in bed, they talk as much as anything else. Jacobson is rightly celebrated for his dialogue and, as so often before, it is rich with allusion and steeped in his passion for English literature. The novel is explicitly and unabashedly a love story and love was what Howard most wanted to talk about when we met.
“The minute you fall deeply in love … melancholy strolls into the garden”.
For Lily and Sam love strikes with a thunderclap. Lily is in love at first sight. Sam takes a couple of days longer. Both in relationships past their sell-by date, they embark upon an extraordinary affair that they are convinced will last forever.
Howard Jacobson seems incapable of writing a bad sentence (although he tells us that it’s just that we don’t get to see them.) His latest book shows him still in full literary flight.