All for Love was the penultimate book in a distinguished career that saw the South African-born Dan Jacobson produce some 26 books of varied genres and styles, but all written with rigorous attention to detail.
Jacobson was brought up in a Lithuanian-Latvian family in the diamond-mining town of Kimberly, South Africa. He worked in a Jewish boys’ school in London in 1950 but was dismissed for teaching his pupils that, whatever the Book of Genesis might say, the universe was millions of years old. He started teaching again after settling in England permanently in the late 1950s, and became a colleague of A.S. Byatt’s at UCL. Jacobson’s most poignant book is Heshel’s Kingdom, an account of his fruitless search for information about his Lithuanian grandfather.