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Beating the Bounds

Adam Mars-Jones: Jim Crace, 21 February 2013

Harvest 
by Jim Crace.
Picador, 273 pp., £16.99, February 2013, 978 0 330 44566 5
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... Jim Crace is as much ‘out-of-pattern’ as the narrator of his new novel, a settled outsider. He can hardly even be said to resist the pull of publishing convention, any more than aluminium resists a magnet. He’s attracted to unlabelled, marginal or parenthetical times and places, environments that might seem unpromising as settings for fiction, even actively hostile to the growth of narrative ...

Smorgasbits

Ian Sansom: Jim Crace, 15 November 2001

The Devil's Larder 
by Jim Crace.
Viking, 194 pp., £12.99, September 2001, 0 670 88145 7
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... to have produced their successors. Before the publication of his first book, Continent, in 1986, Jim Crace worked as a freelance features journalist for the Sunday Telegraph. He’d written a few short stories, some radio plays, and had won the Socialist Challenge short story competition (judged by challenging socialist Terry Eagleton). A ...

Rooms could be companions

Luke Kennard: Jim Crace, 25 April 2018

The Melody 
by Jim Crace.
Picador, 275 pp., £16.99, February 2018, 978 1 5098 4136 3
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... Alfred Busi​ , the protagonist of Jim Crace’s new novel, is a songwriter with an enchanting and consoling voice, so celebrated in his home city that, when the book opens, he is about to be immortalised in bronze on its Avenue of Fame. This city, the narrator tartly informs us, is too fond of awarding medals: It was the lazy habit of the town and had been for several hundred years to hand out these decorations – to men, that is – for anything achieved, no matter how minor or mean – for the completion of a building project, say, or for life-long service with a restaurant, or a golden wedding anniversary ...

Only the crazy make it

Thomas Jones: Jim Crace, 8 March 2007

The Pesthouse 
by Jim Crace.
Picador, 309 pp., £16.99, March 2007, 978 0 330 44562 7
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... In Jim Crace’s most celebrated novel, Quarantine, seven strangers spend a month together – or if not exactly together, then in close proximity to one another – in the Judaean desert. Four of them have come to spend forty days in fasting and contemplation in the hope of a miracle: an old stonemason from Jerusalem, dying of cancer; a woman who thinks she is unable to conceive, just like her husband’s previous wife; a young man looking for something he can’t quite name, something more than a meeting with God, something beyond enlightenment; a ‘badu’, a wild man from the deserts to the south, who the others think is mad but turns out instead to be deaf ...

Chiara Ridolfi

C.K. Stead, 9 October 1986

Innocence 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 224 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 223105 0
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The Dresden Gate 
by Michael Schmidt.
Hutchinson, 152 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 09 165510 2
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First Fictions: Introduction 9 
by Deborah Moffat, Kristien Hemmerechts, Douglas Glover, Dorothy Nimmo and Jaci Stephen.
Faber, 255 pp., £3.95, August 1986, 0 571 13607 9
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Continent 
by Jim Crace.
Heinemann, 154 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 434 14824 5
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... and luck need to go along with talent. A name which appeared first in Introduction 6 is that of Jim Crace. Heinemann have now published his first novel, Continent, which comes with some impressive credentials. Its author has had Arts Council grants; sections of Continent have appeared in the New Review, the London Magazine, Quarto and Encounter as well ...

Hiveward-Winging

Robert Irwin, 3 July 1997

Quarantine 
by Jim Crace.
Viking, 243 pp., £16.99, June 1997, 0 670 85697 5
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... through patterns of imagery.’ ‘God help us,’ said Gunning-Forbes loudly. Reading Jim Crace’s Quarantine, I was powerfully reminded of Froulish’s projected stuck-in-a-lift novel. A lugubriously entertaining secondary character in John Wain’s wonderful picaresque fiction, Hurry on Down (1953), Froulish went on to present his restive ...

Sins and Virtues

Jim Crace, 20 August 1981

... I used once​ to have a calligrapher’s booth in the marketplace. Bridegrooms came and I blessed their marriage certificates with the name of God in gold-leaf. I provided decorative alphabets for elementary schools and delicate pillow-prayers on silk for the superstitious. The old came to my booth and detailed their sins and their virtues. I inscribed them into a list on parchment soaked in ambergris and sealed them into a tube of bamboo ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... but that’s not the same thing as the best novels, and I would read The Devil’s Larder by Jim Crace before Rushdie’s Fury (they’ll both be published on the same day). In 1980, Bill Buford, then the magazine’s editor (he’s now fiction editor of the New Yorker), wrote a piece for Granta – included in Granta: The First 21 Years ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 7 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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Books 
by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... contain the Sayles menace, the RAF drops emergency supplies of the good stuff: And so it was that Jim Crace fell from the sky. Alison Moore and Henry Sutton and Hilary Mantel fell from the sky, Ali Smith and Marcus Mills too. Their books fell from the sky in their thousands, parachuted into parks and on to roundabouts in towns and cities across the ...

Dissecting the Body

Colm Tóibín: Ian McEwan, 26 April 2007

On Chesil Beach 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 166 pp., £12.99, April 2007, 978 0 224 08118 4
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... a nation, of living without a sense of history’. McEwan shares with his fellow English novelist Jim Crace not only an interest in history but in finding a style in prose that is slow-moving, yet compelling, at times stilted and dry, and then suddenly sharp and precise. His couple on their wedding night in On Chesil Beach have their past lives and their ...

She’s not scared

Thomas Jones: Niccolò Ammaniti, 6 September 2017

Anna 
by Niccolò Ammaniti, translated by Jonathan Hunt.
Canongate, 261 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 1 78211 834 3
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... Lord of the Flies and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road; other parallels would include The Pesthouse by Jim Crace, not to mention George Miller’s series of Mad Max movies. I was also reminded of L’uomo verticale by Davide Longo (2010, published in English in 2012 as The Last Man Standing, though ‘The Upright Man’ might have been a better title). One of ...

The Hero Brush

Edmund Gordon: Colum McCann, 12 September 2013

TransAtlantic 
by Colum McCann.
Bloomsbury, 298 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4088 2937 0
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... Colum McCann has described Jim Crace as ‘quite simply, one of the great writers of our time’, Aleksandar Hemon as ‘quite frankly, the greatest writer of our generation’, and Nathan Englander as ‘quite simply, one of the very best we have’. He has called Emma Donoghue ‘one of the great literary ventriloquists’ and John Boyne ‘one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature ...

The Price

Dan Jacobson: The concluding part of Dan Jacobson’s interview with Ian Hamilton, 21 February 2002

... irritated by it. And then one or two things happened: a very good story came in from a guy called Jim Crace. He was just an unknown chap who came from Birmingham or somewhere. Another story came in unsolicited from someone called Ian McEwan. There did seem to be these gifted people out there, so we were up and running. People I knew about, like you and ...

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