The Books of Jacob

Olga Tokarczuk

£25.00

In The Books of Jacob, Tokarczuk traverses the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in search of Jacob Frank, a highly controversial historical figure from the eighteenth century and the leader of a mysterious, heretical Jewish splinter group that converted at different times to both Islam and Catholicism.

Published 15 November 2021

Description

In the mid-eighteenth century, as new ideas begin to sweep the continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona; visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a charismatic spell that attracts an increasingly fervent following. In the decade to come, Frank will traverse the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires, throngs of disciples in his thrall as he reinvents himself again and again, converts to Islam and then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic and revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order, Jewish and Christian alike, with scandalous rumours of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his increasingly iconoclastic beliefs. In The Books of Jacob, her masterpiece, 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk writes the story of Frank through the perspectives of his contemporaries, capturing Enlightenment Europe on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence.

Additional information

Dimensions23 × 14 cm
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Paperback