By Jim Crace
British novelist Jim Crace is the author of Quarantine (1997), Being Dead (1999), and The Pesthouse (**** July/Aug 2007), among his dozen books. In Harvest, Crace describes a world facing inevitable change.
THE STORY: When the Village, a small, preindustrial English settlement, has its traditional way of life upended on the morning after harvest--a time of rest and feasting--Walter Thirsk observes the goings-on with foreboding: someone has set fire to the town's stables and dovecote; three strangers, following the local custom, claim a piece of land by building a fire on it; and a mapmaker from the outside world arrives to chart the place. Walter and the other several dozen inhabitants recognize the change, though they wonder what it will mean for a way of life older than any of them can recall: "We're used to looking out and seeing what's preceded us, and what will also outlive us. Now we have to contemplate a land bare of both."
Nan A. Talese. 224 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 9780385520775
Cleveland Plain Dealer ****
"One of the pleasures of Harvest is the degree of precision with which Crace imagines this small town, from its sexual peccadillos to its justice system to its (broken) leadership to its bad habits. Crace expertly captures the townspeople's emotional shifts as well." MARK ATHITAKIS
Los Angeles Times ****
"As with Crace's other novels, Harvest is deftly written, in language--formal, slightly archaic even--that reflects the setting it describes. ... [Crace has] been hinting at retirement since 2008 or so, but in many ways this book feels like a summing up." DAVID L. ULIN
Minneapolis Star Tribune ****
"In language beautiful and painstakingly precise, Jim Crace circumscribes the story as neatly as a fairy...