- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Airside, Irish and Open market ed edition (16 September 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1447211944
- ISBN-13: 978-1447211945
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.2 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,46,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Harvest Paperback – 16 Sep 2013
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"Crace's signature measured delivery and deliberate focus create unforgettably poetic passages that quiver with beauty. An electrifying return to form."--"Publishers Weekly", starred review"Rarely does language so plainspoken and elemental tell a story so richly open to interpretation on so many different levels....With economy and grace, the award-winning Crace gives his work a simplicity and symmetry that belie the disturbances beneath the consciousness of its narrator....Crace continues to occupy a singular place in contemporary literature."--"Kirkus Reviews", starred review
About the Author
About the Author: Jim Crace is an award winning English Writer. Some of his famous works are The Gift of Stones, Quarantine, Being Dead, The Devil's Larder, etc. Crace was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He studied at the Birmingham College of Commerce, where he was enrolled as an external student from the University of London. He has done his graduation in English Literature in 1968, post which he traveled overseas with the UK Organization Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and two years later returned to UK and started working with BBC, writing educational programmes.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Set in a time when agriculture is giving away to other industries, this is the story of Walter Thirsk, an outsider in a peaceful, rural English village that becomes transformed over the course of a week.
My favorite part of the book was the vivid, poetic language. The descriptions are narcotic, as if I was reading a realistic version of a drug-induced vision. I’m not saying that the prose itself is dream-like. On the contrary, the narrative is dense with grounded details. Rather, it’s as if the descriptions are a product of a hyper-realistic, paranoid, visionary trip. I was never sure what would happen next nor what to truly believe.
This is a Great Book and should be read far and wide. This will withstand multiple readings. However, this book is demanding and will ask more of the reader than most current fiction.
One of my book clubs tackled this book, and the discussion was intense and illuminating. Many people did not like the book because it lacks any empathy, especially for the main character, nor does the book have a packaged ending, issues that can turn off a lot of readers. But the book provided plenty of depth for a good discussion, a sign of a worthwhile read.
My example quote from the book comes from page 45 when Walter is walking around the village at night: “But other gentler odors too. The acrid smell-exaggerated by the rain-of elder trees. The bread-and-biscuit smell of rotting wood. The piss-and-honey tang of apple trees. I navigate my midnight village as a blind man would, by nose and ears and touch and by the vaguest, blackest forms.”
I have trouble recommending this to casual readers—this is not a beach read. I do recommend this wholeheartedly to serious book clubs. Not everyone will like the book, but everyone will like the discussion. I also strongly recommend it to any readers who want a substantial novel that challenges them.
The writing is excellent and gorgeously captured the scenery and atmosphere of a rural England that I like to think is still alive. It certainly was when I was a boy.
"From the lane, looking down towards the tracery of willows on the brook, the top end of our barley meadow, bristling and shivering on the breeze, showed us at last its ochres and its cadmiums, its ambers and its chromes. And the smells which for so long in this slow summer were faint and damp, became nutlike and sugary. They promised winter ales and porridges."
I was almost overcome with emotion when I read that. And i re-read it at least twice, before I put the book down for the night and just enjoyed the familiar scene from my childhood that Jim Crace had just given me a good look at.
This really is a beautiful book and you know that time has been spent constructing a narrative that is a joy to read.
Crace’s novels are often light on plot, which is generally not a problem since he is an expert at exploring the interiority of a character. This book, however, has plot. Set in an isolated medieval village at harvest time, the post-work celebrations are interrupted by fires, the arrival of poor strangers who are suspected of the crime, and then the arrival of new landowners who are intent on changing the life of the village, a task made easier by the growing chaos. The problem is, for all the plot Crace brings to bear for a change, it all seems oddly lightweight.
Part of this comes from the fact that we never get too far below the surface of events here. Crace tries to bridge the gap for us with Walter Thirsk, or narrator for this tale and the only person we really get to know well. Though he’s lived in the village for over a decade and farmed with the rest, he, too, is an outsider and has connections to the landowners. This gives him (and us) an in on all sides of the story. Still, if the action of the story is not indecipherable, it never gains much meaning for the reader.
In the end, I found this novel basically uninteresting. Crace is not the kind of writer who ever generates a lot of excitement in his prose; however, when he’s at his best his precision and depth makes his prose a pleasure. Here, everything comes off as rather flat. It’s not his best work.
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