Information about the author.
Quarantine is an imaginative and powerful retelling of Christ’s fabled forty-day fast in the desert. In Jim Crace’s account, Jesus travels to a cluster of arid caves, where he crosses paths with a small group of exiles and changes their lives in unexpected ways. Evoking the strangeness and beauty of the desert landscape, Crace provocatively interprets one of our most important stories.
A haunting new novel about love, death, and the afterlife, from the author of Quarantine.
Baritone Bay, mid-afternoon. A couple, naked, married almost thirty years, are lying murdered in the dunes.
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.
Jim Crace’s internationally acclaimed first book explores the tribes and communities, conflicts and superstitions, flora and fauna of a wholly spellbinding place: an imaginary seventh continent. In these seven tales Crace travels a strange and wonderful landscape: “Talking Skull” takes the reader to a tiny agricultural village renowned for the sexually-charged, mystical milk of its calves; “Electricity” introduces a remote flatland region where a monumental ceiling fan changes an entire town’s attitude toward modernization. From the acacia scrub of the flatlands to a city bazaar jammed with vegetable stalls, tourists, and beggars, Crace’s invented world is as fabulous as it is eerily familiar.
A remote English village wakes on the morning after harvest, looking forward to enjoying a hard-earned day of rest and feasting. But two mysterious columns of smoke mar the sky, raising alarm and suspicion.
The first column of smoke comes from the edge of the village land, sent as a signal by newcomers to announce their presence as per regional custom. The second smoke column is even more troubling: it comes from a blaze set in Master Kent’s stables. Walter Thirsk, a relative outsider in the village, casts his eye on three local boys and blames their careless tomfoolery. The rest of the villagers, though, close ranks against the strangers rather than accuse one of their own. Two men and a woman are apprehended; their heads are shaved to mark their criminality; and the men are thrown into the stocks for a week. Justice has been served. Or has it? …[more]