Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
Like many controversial leaders, there’s something about Jacob Frank. Pockmarked yet handsome, incoherent yet compelling, this supposed Jewish messiah attracts a motley crew of devotees as he travels around Central Europe in the 18th century, sowing disruption and division. His followers are, for the most part, disenfranchised Jews like Jacob himself. In his thrall, they transgress every tradition in the hope of arriving at… what? Spiritual enlightenment? A better life? Certainty? Jacob’s motivations become only more obscure and unhinged as his sect grows then wanes. Based on real events, this uniquely strange tale is completely immersive.