A romantic comedy written with the authenticity of a memoir, Jacob's Ladder is entertaining and intelligent. Full of wit, slapstick and heart, it conjures up the great screwball comedies of the 1940s. Joel Yanofsky writes about a community he knows intimately -- anglophone Montréal -- a community which has, over the years, both changed dramatically and dramatically resisted change.
The same is true of Yanofsky's narrator, Jacob Glassman, a thirtysomething Oliver Twist stuck in the suburban home he grew up in and clinging to the status quo for dear life. Not easy to do for a man who is pursuing two women at the same time and who is caught up in a shifting series of love triangles. When it comes to craziness, Jacob points out, there's an awfully wide margin for error. In Jacob's Ladder, that margin is stretched to the limit by a cast of hilarious, haywire characters: rogue real estate agents, sentimental adulterers, an obese shrink, an agoraphobic travel agent, a transsexual newspaper editor, and a proselytzing rabbinical student with his sights set on Jacob's bewildered soul.
`Our protagonist here is Jacob, an anglophone Montrealer immersed in a complicated loneliness of the soul. He is surrounded by empty friendships, unrequited passions, undue antagonisms, and even a fatal attraction. There is deft observation and much emotion. This may all sound excessively cluttered, but Yanofsky's prose is capable of handling the action.'