The Dubious Salvation of Jack V. by Jacques Strauss
A Novel

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Synopsis

Jack Viljee's hometown of Johannesburg is still divided by apart­heid, though the old order is starting to crumble. According to eleven-year-old Jack, the world is a rational and simple place. But if life doesn't conform to Jack's expectations, there is always the sympa­thy and approval of the family's maid to console him. Not that Susie is a pushover. She believes violence, of the nondisfiguring variety, is a healthy form of affection--hence her not infrequent expression "Jack, I love you so much. I will hit you." Jack himself is not above socking his best friend in the eye or scamming his little sister into picking up the dog mess. The Viljee household, in its small way, mirrors the politics of the country.



This noisy domesticity is upset by the arrival of Susie's fifteen-year-old son. Percy is bored, idle, and full of rage. When Percy catches Jack in an indelibly shameful moment, Jack learns that the smallest act of revenge has consequences beyond his imagining. The world, it turns out, is not so simple.



Subversively smart and unapologetically funny, clever and a little dangerous, The Dubious Salvation of Jack V. explores the cost of forgive­ness. It is a powerful debut from a fearlessly original voice.



 

About Jacques Strauss

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Jacques Strauss is a thirty-year-old South African. He studied phi­losophy at university, obsessed over Derrida, and now writes reams of corporate copy for a London firm.
 
Published August 30, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 256 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dubious Salvation of Jack V.

Kirkus Reviews

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Meanwhile, Jack, who is half Afrikaner and half English, finds painful and hilarious ways to deal with his own ethnic and sexual confusion.

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dubious Salvation of Jack...

Publishers Weekly

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Although hinging Jack's exit from innocence on his unfortunate encounter with Susie sells short the multifaceted characters' ability to hold the story on their own, the strength of Strauss's storytelling and the indelible impressions his creations make hijack the story in the best possible way.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dubious Salvation of Jack...

The Bookbag

Yes Pages: 240 Date: May 2011 Publisher: Jonathan Strauss External links: Author's website ISBN: 978-0224091305 Straight away the tone of the book is pretty clear as Jack tells readers that I was not, as a child, entirely satisfied with the composition of my family and I thoug...

Apr 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dubious Salvation of Jack...

Lambda Literary

Jack learns more about sex—about religion and hypocrisy, Jacks learns about, you guessed it, sex again… Put another way, The Dubious Salvation is really two novels, the first is almost a young adult novel—a well-written young adult novel, but a young adult novel all the same—while the second is ...

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dubious Salvation of Jack...

The Coffin Factory

If the job of art and literature, as Tolstoy writes, is to allow a reader to experience actions and emotions that he has not had firsthand, then Jacques Strauss’s debut novel The Dubious Salvation of Jack V.

Sep 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dubious Salvation of Jack...

The Blurb

Jack hates to be reminded that Susie “didn’t stay with us because she loved me … She stayed with us because it was her job.” The irony is that to stop her being their servant, to give her her freedom, he may end up having to do something terrible to her.

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