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Beating the Bounds

Adam Mars-Jones: Jim Crace

21 February 2013
by Jim Crace.
Picador, 273 pp., £16.99, February 2013, 978 0 330 44566 5
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... JimCrace 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 ...


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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... were published, that the deeply studious, concentrated, home-keeping Mrs Lewes was a likely person to have produced their successors. Before the publication of his first book, Continent, in 1986, JimCrace 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 ...

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 JimCrace’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 ...

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 JimCrace’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 ...


Robert Irwin

3 July 1997
by Jim Crace.
Viking, 243 pp., £16.99, June 1997, 0 670 85697 5
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... them. Not their physical lives, just the psychic currents that flowed through them. It’s chiefly expressed through patterns of imagery.’ ‘God help us,’ said Gunning-Forbes loudly. Reading JimCrace’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 ...

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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels

23 August 2001
... copy. Moss says that Rushdie and McEwan’s new books ‘will be the publishing events of September’, but that’s not the same thing as the best novels, and I would read The Devil’s Larder by JimCrace 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 ...
9 October 1986
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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by Jim Crace.
Heinemann, 154 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 434 14824 5
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... 47 writers who have now appeared, only a very few have become names one recognises. Clearly persistence and luck need to go along with talent. A name which appeared first in Introduction 6 is that of JimCrace. 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 ...

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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by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... also being a creative one. So it’s slightly startling to find Books having a positive agenda. To contain the Sayles menace, the RAF drops emergency supplies of the good stuff: And so it was that JimCrace 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 ...

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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... to the published script of The Ploughman’s Lunch ‘the dangers, to an individual as well as to a nation, of living without a sense of history’. McEwan shares with his fellow English novelist JimCrace 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 ...

She’s not scared

Thomas Jones: Niccolò Ammaniti

6 September 2017
by Niccolò Ammaniti, translated by Jonathan Hunt.
Canongate, 261 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 1 78211 834 3
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... captured well enough in Hunt’s English version. The publisher makes the obvious comparisons with Lord of the Flies and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road; other parallels would include The Pesthouse by JimCrace, 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 ...

The Hero Brush

Edmund Gordon: Colum McCann

12 September 2013
by Colum McCann.
Bloomsbury, 298 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4088 2937 0
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... Colum McCann has described JimCrace 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 ...

The Price

Dan Jacobson: The concluding part of Dan Jacobson’s interview with Ian Hamilton

21 February 2002
... story, I found. I was reviewing a lot of novels at the time and was fed up with the poetry scene. And irritated by it. And then one or two things happened: a very good story came in from a guy called JimCrace. 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 ...

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