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.

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