Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Celice and Joseph, in their mid-50s and married for more than 30 years, are returning to the seacoast where they met as students. Instead, they are battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand crabs, flies, and gulls. Yet there remains something touching about the scene, with Joseph's hand curving lightly around his wife's leg, "quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet."
""Their bodies had expired, but anyone could tell-just look at them-that Joseph and Celice were still devoted. For while his hand was touching her, curved round her shin, the couple seemed to have achieved that peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder. Anyone who found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that something of their love had survived the death of cells. The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still a man and wife, quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet.""
From that moment forward, "Being Dead" becomes less about murder and more about death. Alternating chapters move back in time from the murder in hourly and two-hourly increments. As the narrative moves backward, we see Celice and Joseph make the small decisions about their day that will lead them inexorably towards their own deaths. In other chapters the narrative moves forward. Celice and Joseph are on vacation and nobody misses them until they do not return. Thus, it is six days before their bodies are found. Crace describes in minute detail their gradual return to the land with the help of crabs, birds, and the numerous insects that attack the body and gently and not so gently prepare it for the dust-to-dust phase of death.
"The Devil's Larder" is a novel in sixty-four parts, exploring our deepest human concerns — love, hate, hopes and desires — through our relationship with food. Packed with delightful and subversive ingredients, with behaviour more suited to the bedroom than to the table, and with the most curious and idosyncratic of diners, this is a sensuous portrait of a community where meals are served with lashings of passion and recipes come spiced with unexpected challenges and hopes.
'Delicious. . the sheer quantity of inventiveness is astounding' " Mail on Sunday "
'Funny, frightening and erotic' "The Times "
Jim Crace is a writer of spectacular originality and a command of language that moves a reader effortlessly into the world of his imagination. In The Pesthouse he imagines an America of the future where a man and a woman trek across a devastated and dangerous landscape, finding strength in each other and an unexpected love.
Once the safest, most prosperous place on earth, the United States is now a lawless, scantly populated wasteland. The machines have stopped. The government has collapsed. Farmlands lie fallow and the soil is contaminated by toxins. Across the country, families have packed up their belongings to travel eastward toward the one hope left: passage on a ship to Europe.
Franklin Lopez and his brother, Jackson, are only days away from the ocean when Franklin, nearly crippled by an inflamed knee, is forced to stop. In the woods near his temporary refuge, Franklin comes upon an isolated stone building. Inside he finds Margaret, a woman with a deadly infection and confined to the Pesthouse to sweat out her fever. Tentatively, the two join forces and make their way through the ruins of old America. Confronted by bandits rounding up men for slavery, finding refuge in the Ark, a religious community that makes bizarre demands on those they shelter, Franklin and Margaret find their wariness of each other replaced by deep trust and an intimacy neither one has ever experienced before.
The Pesthouse is Jim Crace’s most compelling novel to date. Rich in its understanding of America’s history and ethos, it is a paean to the human spirit.
The prodigiously talented Jim Crace has returned with a new novel that explores the complexities of love and violence with a scenario that juxtaposes humor and human aspiration.
British jazzman Leonard Lessing spent a memorable yet unsuccessful few days in Austin, Texas, trying to seduce a woman he fancied. During his stay, he became caught up in her messy life, which included a new lover, a charismatic but carelessly violent man named Maxie.
Eighteen years later, Maxie enters Leonard’s life again, but this time in England, where he is armed and holding hostages. Leonard must decide whether to sit silently by as the standoff unfolds or find the courage to go to the crime scene where he could potentially save lives. The lives of two mothers and two daughters — all strikingly independent and spirited — hang in the balance.
Set in Texas and the suburbs of England, All That Follows is a novel in which tender, unheroic moments triumph over the more strident and aggressive facets of our age.
It also provides moving and surprising insights into the conflict between our private and public lives and redefines heroism in this new century. It is a masterful work from one of Britain’s brightest literary lights.
At the twilight of the stone age, an isolated village lives in relative prosperity. A young man, a one-armed dreamer unable to work the stone, elects himself the village storyteller, and hunts restlessly, far and wide, for inspiration. But the information he finds and the people he meets warn of a fissure in their world: the advent of a new age and the coming of a metal that will change their community's life irrevocably.
'A tour de force, finely and firmly written. Crace is a virtuoso' Frank Kermode
'His work is among the most original in comtemporary fiction' "The Times"
Winter 1836, and the "Belle of Wilmington" discharges its doomed crew on Wherrytown. Little daunted, the Captain and his sailors flirt, drink and brawl their way through the village, marooned along with Aymer Smith, a virgin and a blunderer in search of a wife. As vivid and alive as characters by Dickens, these men play out their dreams against a haunting, monumental landscape, bringing the New World back to the Old, with fresh discoveries, fresh hazards, fresh hopes.
'The passions and mores of the 1830s are flawlessly delineated in this masterly novel, imbued with the tang and power of the sea' "Independent".
Jim Crace's acclaimed debut novel explores an imaginary seventh continent, subtly different from any in the world we know. Its landscapes, wildlife, customs and communities are alien, even frightening — but the continent's inhabitants are nonetheless disarmingly familiar, known to us through their loves, their hopes, and their struggles to make sense of life.
On its first publication over twenty years ago, this captivating novel marked the arrival of one of the most imaginative minds at work: a writer capable of transporting his readers to a strange and wonderful landscape while revealing the humanity within the mirage.
'"Continent" invites — and sustains — comparison with Borges' David Lodge
'A remarkable first novel' John Fowles