The Worst Kind of Want

The Worst Kind of Want

A trip to Italy reignites a woman's desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death, and sexTo cool-headed, fastidious Pricilla Messing, Italy will be an escape, a brief glimpse of freedom from a life that's starting to feel like one long decline.Rescued from the bedside of her difficult mother, forty-something Cilla finds herself called away to Rome to...

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Title:The Worst Kind of Want
Author:Liska Jacobs
Rating:

The Worst Kind of Want Reviews

  • Heather Scott Partington

    Full disclosure: Liska Jacobs is a good friend.

    Liska Jacobs writes bad women well. Fans of her 2017 novel,

    already know this; there's a thrill in watching her heroines self-destruct. In her newest book,

    , Jacobs delivers again. Priscilla Messing is a 43-year-old former producer living in Los Angeles in the shadow of her parents' celebrity. Rejecting the doldrums of caring for her ailing mother, she escapes to Italy, ostensibly to help her widowed brother-in-law

    Full disclosure: Liska Jacobs is a good friend.

    Liska Jacobs writes bad women well. Fans of her 2017 novel,

    already know this; there's a thrill in watching her heroines self-destruct. In her newest book,

    , Jacobs delivers again. Priscilla Messing is a 43-year-old former producer living in Los Angeles in the shadow of her parents' celebrity. Rejecting the doldrums of caring for her ailing mother, she escapes to Italy, ostensibly to help her widowed brother-in-law with her teenage niece, Hannah. But balmy Italian nights and sea air awaken something within Priscilla. Jacobs writes about the Italian ruins and landscape with a humming, sexual energy. Priscilla is transformed: she entertains reckless lust while ignoring responsibility and familial obligation. She's another beautiful trainwreck. You won't be able to look away.

  • Mark

    A woman gives in to her dark, and very human, impulses in this twisted, compelling, and ultimately moving novel. The writing is excellent, reminding me of Deborah Levy and Michel Houellebecq.

  • BookGypsy

    The Worst Kind of Want

    The magic of Italy sparks Pricilla way more than it should for a forty something woman that feels the need to let loose. After years of caring for her mother and the death of her sister, Cilla is asked by her brother in law to come to Italy and care for her teenaged niece. Once their Cilla bounces back to her youth and starts partying. Reckless,thoughtless behavior and the consequences of it. I could feel Cilla's pain. The wedge between right and wrong, desire and disaster.

    The Worst Kind of Want

    The magic of Italy sparks Pricilla way more than it should for a forty something woman that feels the need to let loose. After years of caring for her mother and the death of her sister, Cilla is asked by her brother in law to come to Italy and care for her teenaged niece. Once their Cilla bounces back to her youth and starts partying. Reckless,thoughtless behavior and the consequences of it. I could feel Cilla's pain. The wedge between right and wrong, desire and disaster. This is a complicated and seriously compelling read. It's so much more than you expect.

    Dawnny- BookGypsy

    Novels N Latte

    Hudson Valley NY

  • Andrienne

    Priscilla has been asked by his brother-in-law to spend time with him and his troubled daughter in Italy. Priscilla jumps at the chance because she wants to get away from her overbearing mother and her ex-boyfriend. Italy provides plenty of distraction in the form of a young Italian who happens to be the crush of her niece. Sexy, atmospheric and flanked by a flawed and complex character, this is great for fans of Delia Ephron or Matthew Weiner.

    Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

  • Jessica Sullivan

    Liska Jacobs second novel is again about a woman on the path of self-destruction and she writes this character well.

    Cilla has spent many years of her life grieving the loss of her sister and taking care of her mother. Her longtime boyfriend, nearly 20 years her senior, is pursuing women half her age. Now pushing her mid 40s, she takes a trip to Italy to check up on her teenage niece, Hannah. While there, she gets swept up into an affair with Donato, a 17-year-old Italian boy who Hannah loves.

    At

    Liska Jacobs second novel is again about a woman on the path of self-destruction and she writes this character well.

    Cilla has spent many years of her life grieving the loss of her sister and taking care of her mother. Her longtime boyfriend, nearly 20 years her senior, is pursuing women half her age. Now pushing her mid 40s, she takes a trip to Italy to check up on her teenage niece, Hannah. While there, she gets swept up into an affair with Donato, a 17-year-old Italian boy who Hannah loves.

    At a pivotal time in her life where Cilla is confronting a myriad of different things—death, childlessness, her own approaching menopause and the loss of her youth—Donato seems to fill the voids created by these uncomfortable realities.

    But of course this fling is no more than a temporary distraction, and as it spirals out of control, Cilla is forced to reckon with the consequences of her actions and finally confront the grief she’s had bottled up all this time.

    Though her decisions are obviously questionable, Cilla isn’t an entirely unlikeable character. In the face of the inevitable voids that expand throughout life, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid the allure of recklessness—any brief respite from the pain of reality.

  • Molly

    I absolutely loved Liska Jacob’s first novel, Catalina - so I was super excited to receive an advance copy of her upcoming book in exchange for an honest review.

    The description: A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death and sex.

    There’s something special about Jacob’s writing. It‘s sinister and a little tense... the characters are complex and though I didn’t necessarily relate to them, I was intrigued. Similar to how she portrayed

    I absolutely loved Liska Jacob’s first novel, Catalina - so I was super excited to receive an advance copy of her upcoming book in exchange for an honest review.

    The description: A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death and sex.

    There’s something special about Jacob’s writing. It‘s sinister and a little tense... the characters are complex and though I didn’t necessarily relate to them, I was intrigued. Similar to how she portrayed Catalina in her first novel, Italy acted as more of a character throughout the story than s simple location, and it made me want to book a trip there ASAP.

    I will say it irrationally irked me how much she referenced the noise of cicadas as a setting description... no less than 25 times.

    But overall - really enjoyed. There were hints of Catalina in this one - good in the sense I could tell they were the same author, but not so much that it felt like reading the same book twice.

  • Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog:

    'I have not thought about my wants in so long that the flood of them makes me light-headed.'

    Priscilla “Cilla” is only 43 but feels like life has aged her beyond her years, living with her mother whom is now in rehabilitation at a nursing home. Mother, needy, bitter and resentful, forcing her to placate her demands. Every visit feels like drudgery, reminding her of how stifling her life has become. Since the death of Cilla’s sister, her

    via my blog:

    'I have not thought about my wants in so long that the flood of them makes me light-headed.'

    Priscilla “Cilla” is only 43 but feels like life has aged her beyond her years, living with her mother whom is now in rehabilitation at a nursing home. Mother, needy, bitter and resentful, forcing her to placate her demands. Every visit feels like drudgery, reminding her of how stifling her life has become. Since the death of Cilla’s sister, her brother-in-law has lived with their daughter, her niece Hannah in Italy who is acting out, ‘Cilla, please. You will come, won’t you?’ It’s been a year since Hannah lost her mother, surely acting out is noraml, right? Yet if she goes, it would be an escape from the dullness of her life, but the idea of caring for yet another person is the kiss of death. Yet even the thought of ‘babysitting’ her fifteen year old niece is better than dealing with her impossible mother and her demands. It’s been a full year of dealing with her mother’s bottomless grief and ill health. Then there is her longtime boyfriend Guy, who spends his time directing tv series, once her own deceased father’s protégé who hungered after her all those years ago. He is distracted by all those young actresses dripping in dewy youth. How can she possibly shine by comparison when time takes it’s toll on the body? Italy it is!

    Hannah is becoming quite the young woman, and with the son of family friends Donato’s attention she beams with youth and joy, infusing Cilla with life. Spending time with the pair feels like a seduction what with all the confidence, the freedom, indulging in the pleasures of Italy. Cilla is meant to be looking out for Hannah, keeping her on the straight and narrow, instead she is the one throwing caution off the cliff. Her adult confidence, and Hollywood ties makes her fascinating in Donato’s eyes.He longs to impress her, he is beautiful, could himself be a celebrity, right? Basking in the days and nights beside them feels erotic, as if she is going through a second awakening by accompanying the pair through their own. If she was a ‘better’ woman, she wouldn’t smudge the lines between moral and immoral, she wouldn’t succumb to the charm of a teenage boy but her body is so hungry, and the chemistry is electric, who would it really hurt if no one ever knows?

    The scenery itself begs to be explored, it urges release, to abandon one’s every inhibition. She hasn’t given a thought to her own desires, needs in so long, how can anyone blame her for finally thinking of herself first? She should stop what is happening, but she doesn’t want to deny herself one second of it. “Romans love to have a good time at any age…”, so when in Rome… Why should she ‘behave’, nothing interesting comes of that, being old doesn’t make a person dead, we still long for the thrill of things.

    Being around Hannah takes her back to the beginning of her relationship with the much older Guy. When she was ‘no longer a little girl but not yet a woman’, same phase her niece has entered, playing grownup. How easy it is to play at being a sexual creature, emulating womanhood. The carelessness of her own parents in the past, too much freedom for she and her sister,Hannah’s mother, youthful flirtations gone too far. Maybe Cilla isn’t the best choice in caging a teenager’s impulses, especially when in her shoes she didn’t cage her own. Maybe despite being so much older now, she is just as likely to jump into the lion’s mouth.

    A woman will be punished for letting herself go, for indulging. Cilla isn’t going to be the dutiful aunt, she is going to taste life while she still can even if it could hurt those she is there to protect. Like so many human beings, despite what we know will follow, we still act on impulses. “How easy it is to ignore the darkness in the distance.” All she has is here and now, to focus on what could come of her ‘reckless abandon’ would be a betrayal, especial to herself. But indulgence and deception always comes at a price, is considered downright criminal when a woman of a certain age misbehaves. It’s an indulgent and shameful novel, as most things we know better than to partake of are and engaging because of it. We know the entire time, this isn’t going to end well.

    Publication Date: November 5, 2019

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Sarah

    3.5 rounded down

    A great read for those hot summer days,

    follows Cilla on a trip to Rome. In her early forties and escaping from having to care for her deteriorating mother back in America, Cilla travels to Rome to spend time with her brother-in-law, Paul, and teenage niece, Hannah. During the heady summer days Cilla becomes embroiled in the life of Donato, an Italian teenager who has befriended her niece. Things spiral from here to an inevitable and dramatic conclusion.

    3.5 rounded down

    A great read for those hot summer days,

    follows Cilla on a trip to Rome. In her early forties and escaping from having to care for her deteriorating mother back in America, Cilla travels to Rome to spend time with her brother-in-law, Paul, and teenage niece, Hannah. During the heady summer days Cilla becomes embroiled in the life of Donato, an Italian teenager who has befriended her niece. Things spiral from here to an inevitable and dramatic conclusion.

    Cilla's character was particularly well done in my view - a woman confronting her own ageing and her mother's decline in a way which was realistic and relatable but never cliched. On the strength of this I'll be looking to read more by Liska Jacobs.

  • Larry H

    Pricilla Messing has had it with being the responsible one. She's tired of caring for her elderly mother, especially after having to care for her father before his death. She always took a back seat to the relationship between her mother and her younger sister, who was more beautiful and more exciting. Part of her wants to put her mother in an assisted living facility, sell the house, and start some new adventure, but she feels too tethered to her responsibilities.

    When Cilla's brother-in-law

    Pricilla Messing has had it with being the responsible one. She's tired of caring for her elderly mother, especially after having to care for her father before his death. She always took a back seat to the relationship between her mother and her younger sister, who was more beautiful and more exciting. Part of her wants to put her mother in an assisted living facility, sell the house, and start some new adventure, but she feels too tethered to her responsibilities.

    When Cilla's brother-in-law calls from Rome, asking for help getting her teenage niece to behave, she jumps at the chance to head to Italy. She's not interested in riding herd on Hannah, however; she's more interested in absorbing every ounce of the glamorous Roman lifestyle, one she used to experience regularly as the daughter of an actress and a producer. She'd much rather be Hannah's friend than her chaperone, and it isn't too long before Cilla finds herself clubbing, drinking and eating to excess, and enjoying all the city has to offer.

    Being with Hannah and her brother-in-law, Paul, does force Cilla to confront some painful memories about her difficult relationship with her sister Emily, who died of cancer a few years earlier. Hannah reminds Cilla so much of Emily at that age, and at times she has trouble dealing with the many ways their relationship was fraught with jealousy, resentment, and condescension, while at other times they were tremendously close.

    Cilla's time in Rome makes her feel vibrant again, for the first time in a long while. When she realizes that one of Hannah's handsome friends, a teenage boy far younger than the forty-something Cilla, is flirting with her, it energizes her to feel desirable by someone out of her league. But as the flirtation moves to something more serious, Cilla has to decide whether the potential thrill is worth the risks. Is she willing to lose her relationship with her family for an encounter with a teenager, however handsome and flirtatious he might be? Should she risk it all to feel desirable again, no matter the consequences?

    tells the story of a woman at a crossroads in her life. This was an interesting, thoughtful meditation on the mindset of a "woman of a certain age." And perhaps not being in that demographic made this a little more difficult for me to connect with the character, although I've not had that issue before.

    Jacobs’ imagery was vivid and poetic and she created some interestingly complex, flawed characters. But in the end, although I read the book quickly, I didn’t feel fully engaged by it. I enjoyed her first novel,

    , a bit better.

    NetGalley, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and MCD provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

    This book publishes November 5.

    See all of my reviews at

    .

    You can follow me on Instagram at

  • Anna Luce

    DNF at 10%

    In this day and age, it's fairly easy to find out information about other countries.

    The thing is that it is

    : there are the occasional Italian words peppered here and there—I guess to give it a more 'genuine' flavour—but, for the most part, the way these Italian characters speak sounds false.

    Jacobs applies English

    DNF at 10%

    In this day and age, it's fairly easy to find out information about other countries.

    The thing is that it is

    : there are the occasional Italian words peppered here and there—I guess to give it a more 'genuine' flavour—but, for the most part, the way these Italian characters speak sounds false.

    Jacobs applies English formulas to what the Italian characters are saying, for instance: English speakers would tell someone to mind their language by saying 'Language please!' or something of that sort. In Italy, no one would say 'Linguaggio!' and would likely say something along the lines of 'Fai attenzione a come parli' (which roughly translates to 'watch the way you speak'). My point is that the average Italian would likely translate word for word the Italian way of saying mind your language, and probably wouldn't be aware that in English people would say 'watch your language' or just 'language'. So if you have an Italian character, who isn't all that fluent in English, say in English 'Language!' it will strike Italian speakers as inaccurate. Additionally, I doubt many Italian women would refer to their teenage son's friend as 'mia cucciola' (a not widely used term of endearment that is more suited to small children, especially if they are related to you: ie. an aunty calling her 4-year-old nephew 'cucciolotto').

    Why have the American girl—whose lived in Italy for a year or so—refer to her dad as 'Papa' which is not the correct spelling for 'dad' in Italian (dad is 'papà', pope is 'papa').

    Another thing that annoyed me is that if the author tries to make her setting authentic by using the full names of certain Italian dishes (usually in italics) but couldn't lookup wherever Italian names? 'Marie' is not an Italian name, 'Maria' is an Italian name. There are a lot of Italian names which are used only in certain regions of Italy, and often you can tell if a person comes from the South or the North of Italy through their name (I doubt there are many men who go by Tonio or Donato in Rome...).

    Lastly, what is the point in saying that an Italian woman's English has a 'lilting accent. Like Fellini films, like postwar Italian actresses'. I'm fairly sure that Fellini films are not dubbed, but subbed, so the Italian actresses in those film would not be speaking an accented English, but their own language. And isn't saying that she sounded like an actress in old Italian films a bit of a cheap trick?

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