People who know me know that I’m a huge fan of Jim Crace. I just love his work. So much, in fact, that I’ve felt sad that more isn’t made of him in the UK but at the same time his books are my secret, written especially for me.
Yes, I know I sound creepy. He did a reading a few years ago and I took all his novels along with me to get them signed. At the time he announced that he only had another two books planned, so his latest work, “Harvest”, will be his last. As a result, I’ve delayed reading it in an attempt to eke out the pleasure. It’s been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and I’m hoping if he wins that he might just write another novel…
His subjects range widely – the biography of a murdered couple (told as they decompose), an elderly millionare plans his legacy, a stone age storyteller watches the advent of the iron age, Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, a ship runs aground in the 1800s- to name a few. But Jim Crace’s style is aways immaculate.
If you like genre labels and want something speculative then “The Pesthouse” is his book about post-apocalypse America. I think it suffered as it was released at a similar time to “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, but “The Pesthouse” is a completely different beast and equally marvellous.