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Posted 20 hours ago

As Meat Loves Salt

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Other than the sheer cheesiness of that, if you've ever held a squishy ripe peach in your hand, you'll know that the end result of that will be smeary peach pulp and not two neat halves that can be assembled back together like a Tiffany box with a diamond ring inside. But then, I guess that’s realistic – not all meetings we have in this world are filled with meaning. Jacob is a pretty disturbing character, and I'm still not sure whether he's driven insane by some religious guilt or meant to be a sociopath. I once read that early schizophrenics sometimes thought the voices they heard were the devil, since that fit the belief structure of the time.

But, as their friendship deepens and emotions become more complex, Jacob finds it increasingly difficult to maintain the tranquillity of his new life. I am currently reading Ace, King, Knave by Maria McCann, and unfortunately I can't help but compare it to this first of her books that I read, which I'm not sure I will ever get over.And even though reading it hurt, hurt badly, I am very glad I read it, because like it says in a review included at the front of the book, this is a book that stays with you for a very long time. No detail is spared: the realities of war are hideously vivid; any scene featuring illness or medical treatment is. Jacob relates “everything he had told me as we lay together the night before: all about our first meeting, how I had at once wounded him, how when I stripped by the fire he could scarce breathe for delight”. Once I got into it I was totally into the story and I have recommended it a great often and with alacrity. There is also his great friend and lover Christopher Ferris who, for all of his pamphleteering and desire to found a commune based on the equality of all members, is himself a member of the nouveau-rich merchant class who certainly leans on his money and status to accomplish his ends.

The language is equally incredible - the sentences are sinuous and sensual, so evocative that every day I find myself re-reading sections of the book to refresh their sound in my mind.

A brutal scene near the beginning almost made me give up on the book altogether; I put it down briefly, skimmed some reviews, readjusted my expectations, and understood that what I was reading was a close and complicated study of a deeply amoral man. Still, even as his mistakes compound, at every progressive junction, the reader holds out some faint, flickering hope that Jacob will finally turn his life around. In my opinion, the cruel irony of Jacob’s story is that he is drawn to good/beautiful people in a very innocent way- he truly wants to love and be loved by them. Trust me when I said Jacob Cullen is the lite version of Maurice Swift from A LADDER TO THE SKY by John Boyne i wasn’t wrong!

However, he is also passionate, vulnerable and charming and is equally capable of being tender and loving.Maria McCann was born in Liverpool in 1956 and spent most of her childhood there devouring novels at every opportunity. What a terrific book, Jacob sucked me right in and I felt so, so strongly for him and his intense, obsessed love. Every time I finish this book I'm somehow simultaneously in love, and appalled, and exhausted and kind of afraid, and in awe, and I just never know what to do with myself.

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