A Best Book of Fall at Esquire, Vulture, and Cosmopolitan
Most Anticipated at CrimeReads, Pop Sugar, The Millions, The Palm Beach Post, and Lit Hub
A Best Book of the Week at New York Post
“This crispy biscotti of a novel is about a producer who goes to Italy, has a scandalous relationship, and decodes not just the meaning of life but also the meaning of death, sex, dance clubs, and emoji. You’ll feel indecent reading it in public.”
Molly Young, Vulture
“Dark, seductive . . . Noirish and sexy, this provocative novel explores what it’s like to be a woman on the edge, and what happens when dreams are deferred for too long.”
Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
“Womanhood. Death. Sex. A risky flirtation with a teenage boy. In Jacobs’s latest novel, she weaves together desire and disaster as a burned-out 40-something throws herself into the nightlife of teenagers in the heat of the Italian summer. Sounds like . . . she predicted my future?”
"An unconventionaland disastrouslove story, as death-steeped, sultry, and delicious as the ancient Italian cities in which it’s set."
Emily Temple, Lit Hub
“Liska Jacobs’s work captivates in the present because it reflects the trauma of the past. . . Jacobs takes us on a wrenching journey into the catacombs.”
Julia Ingalls, Alta
"Jacobs’s intoxicating second novel is a love letter to Italy and an evocative study of grief and desire . . . Jacobs’s haunting portrait of one woman’s transformative and, ultimately, tragic summer will linger with readers."
"As in her stylish debut, Catalina, Jacobs sets her narrator on a dark psychological journey in sweltering, sun-bleached locales . . . Darkly compelling."
Annie Bostrom, Booklist
“Liska Jacobs’s psychologically tense novel The Worst Kind of Want deftly explores matters of age and aging, of modernity and women, as seen through the lens of forty-something Cilla’s propulsive desires. In this sharply written feminist noir, Jacobs takes readers on a thrillingly doomed journey amid the simmering heat of an Italian landscapea captivating portrayal of self and want.”
Christine Mangan, author of Tangerine
“The Worst Kind of Want is a devilish, devious, and sultry psychological thrill ride. Each page overflows with disquieting passion and sumptuous detail. Jacobs is an archaeologist who dives deep into her characters’ illicit desires and reveals them with unnerving and unflinching honesty.”
Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley
“The Worst Kind of Want transported me to Rome and blessed me with an addictive, sexy story about a woman who tries to turn her pain into a fleeting, forgettable recklessness. If only that were possible. Liska Jacobs has written a smart, emotionally resonant, delicious novel about a complicated woman, her complicated family, and her complicated past. I couldn’t put it down even if I tried.”
Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17
“Liska Jacobs’s dangerous psychological novel, about a woman caught up in the unnerving throes of middle age desire, plays out like a house on fire against its luscious Italian background. The perfect vacation read, like Under the Tuscan Sun gone darkly, desperately wrong.
Janet Fitch, author of Chimes of a Lost Cathedral
"Embrace your sensual cougar energy with this crispy sharp Italian biscotti of a novel"
Molly Young, Read Like the Wind
A Californian flies to Rome to help her widowed brother-in-law care for her troubled teenage niece; instead, she wreaks havoc.
Self-pity, self-indulgence, self-rationalization, and general resentment are narrator Cilla's principal charms in Jacobs' (Catalina, 2017) second novel. Not that some of Cilla's general resentment is not justified. She is stuck caring for her aging mother, a former actress who frequently compares Cilla to her younger, prettier sister, Emily. Now 43, Cilla was seduced when barely 15 by her screenwriter father's 33-year-old protégé, Guy, with whom Cilla remains entwined personally and professionally despite his new, very young girlfriend. While she blames the predatory creep for damaging her life, it irks Cilla that Emily always distrusted him, first as a young girl and more recently as a mother. It also irks Cilla that Emily rose from a "failed" modeling career and drug issues to become college professor Paul's wife, a celebrated belle in his academic circle. But Emily has recently died of cancer, and Paul has moved to Rome with their 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has begun "acting out" in small delinquencies and running with a group of older teens. When he asks Cilla to visit, she jumps at the chance to escape her hospitalized mother. But instead of offering Hannah nurturing support, Cilla joins in partying with the teens and quickly begins an ever escalating flirtation with 17-year-old Donato, who happens to be the son of Paul's close friends. Thoughtless lust combines with ambivalent jealousy/grief regarding Emily, whom Hannah and Paul remember as more loving and thoughtful than Cilla has described, and ambivalent protectiveness/competitiveness regarding Hannah, who has a serious crush on Donato and is the same age Cilla was when Guy seduced her. As Cilla rationalizes her selfish behavior with Donato, the novel moves slowly but inexorably toward disaster. Only the extent of the mess selfish, narcissistic Cilla leaves in her wake will be a surprise.
An unlikable protagonist can be an invigorating challenge, but in this case a better title might have been The Worst Kind of Woman.