Live a Little, by Howard Jacobson (PB, 6 August 2o21)
A wickedly observed novel about falling in love at the end of your life, by the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Finkler Question. At the age of ninety-something, Beryl Dusinbery is forgetting everything - including her own children. She spends her days stitching morbid samplers and tormenting her two long-suffering carers, Nastya and Euphoria, with tangled stories of her husbands and love affairs.
Shimi Carmelli can do up his own buttons, walks without the aid of a frame and speaks without spitting. Among the widows of North London, he's whispered about as the last of the eligible bachelors. Unlike Beryl, he forgets nothing - especially not the shame of a childhood incident that has hung over him like an oppressive cloud ever since.
There's very little life remaining for either of them, but perhaps just enough to heal some of the hurt inflicted along the way, and find new meaning in what's left. Told with Jacobson's trademark wit and style, Live a Little is in equal parts funny, irreverent and tender - a novel to make you consider all the paths not taken, and whether you could still change course.
Paperback, August 2021