Jacob's Advice: A Novel

By Jude Cook

Two cousins search for their Jewish identity in the Paris of 2015

Fiction
100% funded
139 supporters
Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

Support this project
The crowd has spoken – Jacob's Advice: A Novel is happening. Pre-order your reward now.
$15 
25 pledges

Digital

Get a digital version of the book with your name in the back among the list of supporters.
Choose this reward
$40  + shipping
16 pledges

Signed book

Get a first-edition, signed, hardback version of the book with your name in the back among the list of supporters, plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$220  + shipping

Creative writing workshop

A two-hour, one-to-one workshop in London. Plus you'll receive signed, first-edition, hardback book with your name in the back among the list of supporters, and the ebook. (Travel not included. Workshop limited to five.)
Choose this reward
$375  + shipping
4 pledges

Collector's leather-bound edition

Receive a leather-bound first-edition of the book with your name in the back among the list of supporters, plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$435  + shipping
2 pledges

Manuscript critique

A full MS assessment report (3,000 words) on a work of fiction (up to 90,000 words). Plus you'll receive a first-edition, hardback book with your name in the back among the list of supporters and the ebook.
Choose this reward
$500  + shipping

Fiction-writing masterclass

A four-hour workshop at Westminster University on your work-in-progress novel (places limited to 5). You will also receive a first-edition, hardback book with your name in the back among the list of supporters and the ebook.
Choose this reward
$620  + shipping
8 pledges

Book Bundle

A bundle of seventeen first-edition, signed hardback books with your name in the back among the list of supporters, plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$1,240  + shipping
1 pledge

Patron

Get the fiction-writing package: a full MS critique and a signed, leather-bound first edition of the book plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$1,240  + shipping
5 pledges

Big Book Bundle

A bundle of 34 first-edition, signed hardback books with your name in the back among the list of supporters, plus the ebook.
Choose this reward

Sold out!

$25  + shipping
31 pledges

Early bird hardback

Be one of the first 30 people to support the book and you'll receive a first-edition hardback version of the book with your name in the back among the list of supporters, plus the ebook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We deliver to most countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book.

How do supporter names work?

Every person who pledges to help to make a book gets their name included in a supporter section as a thank you. If you want to add a different name, this can be changed in your account after you have completed your pledge.

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

Jacob’s Advice is the story of Larry Frost, a British doctor living in Paris, who is convinced he is Jewish. The tale is told through the eyes of his sceptical cousin, Nick Newman, who listens and laughs, suffers and waits, as he tries to understand his own place in the world.

Following the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in January 2015, Paris appears to be back to business-as-usual. Yet tensions run deep and the two cousins are about to get drawn into the slipstream . . . Larry’s quest for his true identity, through the fractured, uneasy, magical streets of Paris, reaches its climax in Amsterdam, where the mysterious Jacob Bloom reveals a family secret linked to the dark days of WWII that will change both cousins’ lives forever.

Set against a backdrop of increased extremism, nationalism, and the resurgence of antisemitism, Jacob’s Advice is an urgent and topical exploration of identity, race, family, modern Europe, and the inescapable nature of the past. It’s also a love letter to Paris and a reflection on its recent tragedy.

Nick, a historian specialising in revolutionary France, is divorced, missing his seven-year-old son, and struggling with the after-effects of an adverse reaction to an antibiotic, which has left him with extensive nerve damage. When the Sorbonne offers him a research fellowship, he is thrilled. He hopes that his cousin, Larry, a neuro-pharmacologist who lives in Paris and campaigns against Big Pharma, will help him get legal revenge on the drugs company that has wrecked his health.

However, once in the 5th arrondissement, Nick finds Larry preoccupied by his own great mission to prove that he – and therefore Nick – is Jewish. An exuberant philosemite, Larry has long had his suspicions (and hopes). Now he’s dating a Jewish woman, Ariel Levine, and living with her family in the Marais, he has even more reason to try to prove it.

As Nick, Larry and Ariel weave through the cool spring evenings in the bars and bistros of the Latin Quarter, they talk about life, love, ethnicity, Je Suis Charlie, and how Paris is changing. Nick is troubled by his inability to sustain a relationship with his son, but Larry feels he has met the love of his life, and is also getting closer to claiming the ethnicity he has always wanted.

It is only when Larry proposes to Ariel that her secular, cosmopolitan parents firmly reject him: their daughter will never marry out. At the same time, Nick’s ex-wife threatens to take their son out of his reach. And then disaster strikes Paris, with the terrorist attacks of November 13th. With both cousins in emotional disarray, and the city in trauma, they finally hear from an old man in Amsterdam, Jacob Bloom, who wants to tell them a secret. As they set off for a long weekend, where Nick will also meet his ex-wife and son, the stage is set for a tense denouement, with everything riding on Jacob’s long-hoped-for advice.

This is not the final cover and is subject to change.

Support this project

Quick select rewards

  • Jude Cook avatar

    Jude Cook

    Jude Cook lives in London and studied English literature at UCL. He writes for the Guardian, the Spectator, Literary Review, New Statesman, TLS and the i-Paper. His essays and short fiction have appeared in The Stockholm Review, The Moth, The Tangerine and The Honest Ulsterman, among other publications.


    His first novel, Byron Easy, was published by Heinemann in 2013. In 2017, he was longlisted for the Pin Drop RA short story award, and in 2018 shortlisted for Leicester Writes Short Story Prize, and longlisted for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award.


    He is an editor for The Literary Consultancy and teaches creative writing at the University of Westminster.

  • My cousin, the well-known pharmacologist Larry Frost, always maintained his three favourite Americans were Jewish men: Bob Dylan, Saul Bellow and Woody Allen. Out of a nation of 300 million, it was this triumvirate with which he most identified.  ‘Of course,’ I counselled him, being older by seven years, ‘liking them doesn’t make you Jewish too.’  But he was convinced somewhere, deep down, he had to be.  There had to be a reason for his strong sense of empathy.  He loved the output of all three unreservedly, even the later, unfunny, unlistenable or unreadable works.  By some accident or mix-up in our family lineage, he insisted, there had to be a reason for his overwhelming feeling of consanguinity.  He was a philosemite extraordinaire, if not one of the Chosen People. Obsessed with the notion. Absolutely in thrall to it; which was, and is, his nature.  This conviction reached an apex of what I considered almost mystical grandeur and absurdity when he moved to Paris in the autumn of last year and found himself a Jewish girlfriend.  Ariel, almost twenty years his junior, and so pretty she broke men’s hearts at thirty paces as she approached them on the dust-blessed, pollen-laden Parisian streets. Where has she been all my life? they would ask their secret souls – me included, when I finally met her.  On the kind of sunny morning when the air still breathes Flaubert’s famous exhalations of ‘love and intelligence’, Ariel was unstoppable.  Her tiny, luminous mouse-face, with its languorous red gouge of a mouth, often peeking from under a beret clamped to a crown of shimmering black hair, was an engine of attraction.  Add to this a formidable mind and an even stronger will, and she was devastating. But I’m getting carried away . . . I must first let you meet Larry, and explain how and why I came to be living in Paris myself.     

    I should establish straight away that we are both doctors, but of different kinds.  Larry to his new colleagues is Dr Lawrence Frost, a visiting neuropharmacologist at the Institut Pasteur on the rue de Vaugirard.  And I, to my students back home at Birkbeck, am Dr Newman – Nicholas Newman, a Research Fellow specialising in the History of Revolutionary France and the Napoleonic era.  I’ve published widely on the First Republic and the Jacobin cause, and was once asked to be historical advisor on a romantic comedy set at the time of the Terror – not much of either genre to be found there, I argued; so in the end I said no.  I’m only Nick to my closest friends (and Dad to my son, whom I won’t be seeing for a while now I’m resident here). Larry, by contrast, is Larry to everyone after a first encounter. He’s even Larry to the directrice-générale of the Institut.  He has that kind of effect on people.  In fact, I’ve always thought there was something Promethean about Larry – not in his suffering, I rarely see any of that, but in his daring; his intrepid, principled force.  Though nicely berthed at the Department of Neuroscience since October (and at the palatial Place des Vosges apartment of Ariel’s parents, no less), he has always held adversarial positions.  Against everything, it seems. A true contrarian. Ever since I’ve known him as a ‘grown-up’ he’s been something of a crusader against the monstrous $600bn pharmaceutical industry, with its shabby regulation, its market-driven misdemeanours, its academics sucking at the lucrative teat of the drugs manufacturers.  After graduating as a med doctor, followed by a stunning MSc in cellular function from King’s, Larry seems to have made a career from his Cassandra voice, penning articles everywhere from the BMJ to the broadsheets. Maybe I should revise ‘well-known’ pharmacologist to ‘notorious’. He’s a one-man revolution; a corrector of consciousnesses, and conscience.

    Read more...
  • 9th August 2019 Looks like we might have made it (Jusqu'à la fin)

    Good news for a Friday morning. Jacob's Advice is now 100% funded with Unbound. Thanks to everyone who so generously supported the book. See you all at the salon (and/ or) at the launch!...Jude x

    30th July 2019 Final Push

    Hello all, so Jacob's Advice is a healthy 83% funded. Thanks to one and all for your generous support! Please do pass on the project to anyone who you think might like to pledge to help it over the line... If you pre-ordered the hardback and want to upgrade your pledge, there are still x5 places left on the Parisian literary salon (which will be taking place in December at a central London location…

    9th July 2019 Glass Half Full

    The foothills have been conquered, and the summit is in sight! Jacob's Advice is over 50% funded. There's still a fair way to go, but - to mangle my metaphors - I like to think the glass is now half full... A huge thank you to all who've supported (and I'll be seeing some of you at the Salon Night to thank you personally). Do please tell your friends about the book and encourage them to pledge. In…

    19th June 2019 A Quarter of the Way There

    So my new novel JACOB'S ADVICE is 25% funded after only two weeks (hurrah!). A huge thank you to everyone who's supported so far...I hope you enjoy reading it when it arrives. Please do spread the word with friends & on social media (if you haven't already - thanks to everyone who has!) In the meantime, here's something I wrote for the Jewish Chronicle about how I came to write the book:

    https…

    12th June 2019 Seems like a week ago

    So, a week after launching my new novel JACOB'S ADVICE with the good people at Unbound we are 15% funded with almost 60 supporters. All the Early Bird hardbacks have been snapped up, and seven of you are joining me for a Salon Night of heavy literary yak and good red wine... A fine start! A massive thank you to all who have backed the book so far... It means a great deal to me that you've dug deep…

  • These people are helping to fund Jacob's Advice: A Novel.

    User avatar

    Hazel Slavin

    User avatar

    Carlo Navato

    User avatar

    Fleur Smithwick

    User avatar

    Terry Stiastny

    User avatar

    Yvonne Enright

    User avatar

    Linda Martin

    User avatar

    Samantha Ellis

    User avatar

    An anonymous donor

    User avatar

    Rachael Smart

    User avatar

    Guinevere Glasfurd-Brown

    User avatar

    James Cook

    User avatar

    Rebecca Ellis

    User avatar

    Mick Paulusma

    User avatar

    Cari Rosen

    User avatar

    Caroline Franks

    User avatar

    Hephzibah Anderson

    User avatar

    Andreas Loizou

    User avatar

    Alison Souter

    User avatar

    Jude Cook

    User avatar

    Christopher Greenland

    User avatar

    Josephine Greenland

    User avatar

    Garth Leder

    View more