Jacob's Hands by Aldous Huxley

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Jacob Ericson is a quiet, kind, and somewhat simple man who works as a ranch hand for crotchety Professor Carter and his crippled daughter, Sharon, in California's Mojave Desert in the 1920s. Jacob is a good man, genuine, honorable, but hardly extraordinary--until he miraculously heals a dying calf with his hands.

However, while he is content to cure the town's animals, it isn't long before he is persuaded to use his gift in other ways. When Sharon, whom he adores, begs him to heal her leg, he cannot deny her.

His acquiescence causes them both to be exploited. Sharon runs away to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of stardom. Jacob follows her, hopeful that they will meet again. And they do--as miserable performers in a seedy stage show. While they plan their escape from the dreary stage life, Jacob is asked to heal a self-absorbed young millionaire. And with his assent, Jacob's plans, and all of his dreams, begin to crumble.

Written in tight, vivid, and seamlessly crafted prose, this previously unpublished tale by two of the greatest storytellers of the twentieth century shows the dangers a magical gift holds for even the noblest of characters.


About Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, in Surrey, England, into a distinguished scientific and literary family; his grandfather was the noted scientist and writer, T.H. Huxley. Following an eye illness at age 16 that resulted in near-blindness, Huxley abandoned hope of a career in medicine and turned instead to literature, attending Oxford University and graduating with honors. While at Oxford, he published two volumes of poetry. Crome Yellow, his first novel, was published in 1927 followed by Antic Hay, Those Barren Leaves, and Point Counter Point. His most famous novel, Brave New World, published in 1932, is a science fiction classic about a futuristic society controlled by technology. In all, Huxley produced 47 works during his long career, In 1947, Huxley moved with his family to southern California. During the 1950s, he experimented with mescaline and LSD. Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, both works of nonfiction, were based on his experiences while taking mescaline under supervision. In 1959, Aldous Huxley received the Award of Merit for the Novel from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died on November 22, 1963. Christopher Isherwood, born in Cheshire, England, in 1904, wrote both novels and nonfiction. He was a lifelong friend of W.H. Auden and wrote several plays with him, including Dog Beneath the Skin and The Ascent of F6. He lived in Germany from 1928 until 1933 and his writings during this period described the political and social climate of pre-Hitler Germany. Isherwood immigrated to the United States in 1939 and became a U.S. citizen in 1946. He lived in California, working on film scripts and adapting plays for television. The musical Cabaret is based on several of Isherwood's stories and on his play, I Am a Camera. His other works include Mr. Norris Changes Trains, about life in Germany in the early 1930s; Down There on a Visit, an autobiographical novel; and Where Joy Resides, published after his death in 1986.
Published September 1, 1998 by St Martins Pr. 141 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The story focuses on Jacob, a traumatized veteran of WWI who has fled to the Mojave Desert for solitude, but is discovered to carry an uncanny ability to heal in his hands—as well as a gift for sensing the true state of someone’s spirit.

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Publishers Weekly

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Sharon and Jacob should go back to the clean pure desert and do some good, but they are trapped by Jacob's compassion for one of his patients, Earl Medwin, the chronically ill heir to a vast fortune, and by Sharon's final surrender to temptation--Earl's assiduous attentions and all that money.

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Entertainment Weekly

C Originally posted Sep 04, 1998 Published in issue #448 Sep 04, 1998 Order article reprints

Sep 04 1998 | Read Full Review of Jacob's Hands

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