One of Britain’s greatest novelists, the Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson joins us with a provocative examination of desire, infidelity, and what is left of us when we strip away every layer.
Love can change your life. But can it survive it?
Often described as ‘the English Philip Roth’ – though he prefers the description ‘the Jewish Jane Austen’ – Howard Jacobson’s gifts as a novelist include not only the penetrating psychological insight one would expect of a household literary name, but a talent of comedy almost entirely absent among the high table of British culture. Like all masters of the comic, his intentions are serious and profound; and in his new novel What Will Survive of Us he takes us to the edge of desire, love, and betrayal across a lifetime.
Lily Redfern falls in love with Sam Quaid the minute she sets eyes on him. It takes Sam a day or two longer. Curious, because Lily – independent, headstrong, rational – has never quite believed in love; while Sam – confident, passionate, romantic – thought he understood it inside out.
Lily is an award-winning television documentary maker. Sam is an award-winning playwright. Both are in relationships that have quietly expired, but their encounter makes them come alive again. As they begin to work together on the page and on screen, an affair takes hold that they are powerless to resist. Arriving in mid-life, their relationship opens unexpected new worlds and, for Lily, offers her a surprising form of liberation. But what will happen to them when familiarity, illness and age begin to take their toll? What will survive?
This event is held in partnership with the Jewish Literary Foundation.