We all have favourite authors, don't we? If I enjoy a book, like the style and the way the subject matter is treated, I try to read more of that author's work and they may become a 'favourite'.
One such author is Jim Crace. I first heard of Crace when he won the Whitbread (now the Costa) for the second time in 1997. Since then, I've read several of his books but, as each is different, it is difficult to categorise his work. A.S. Byatt (POSSESSION) has described him as the most significant writer in English fiction of the last ten years, yet his books are easy to read.
Crace was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1946 and worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent. He has written short stories and non-fiction as well as about a dozen novels.
The following summaries of his books were sourced from the internet.
His first book, CONTINENT (1986), consists of seven interconnected stories set on an imaginary seventh continent, exploring Western attitudes to the Third World. I found it almost fable-like in its simplicity.
ARCADIA (1992), his third book, is set in an imaginary British city in the future.
QUARANTINE (1997), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, is a reworking of the biblical account of Jesus's 40 days spent in the wilderness. It is actually not religious and is my favourite Crace book.
BEING DEAD(1999) narrates the murder and physical decomposition of a couple on a remote beach, interpolated with episodes from their life. This is one for the fans of forensic crime stories and vies with QUARANTINE for best book.
THE PESTHOUSE (2007), a love story set in a future America. I think it is somewhat of a stretch to call it a love story. If you enjoyed Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD, you'll like this one too.
ALL THAT FOLLOWS (2010) is set in England 2024, and George Bush's Texas, 2006, this hypnotic novel is Crace's most overtly political novel. Billed as a thriller, it reminded me of Ian McEwan's SATURDAY.
And some I haven't read………….yet.
THE GIFT OF STONES (1988) portrays a coastal Stone Age community threatened by Bronze Age technology.
THE DEVIL'S LARDER (2001), consists of 64 short fictions about food.
His novel, SIX (2003), charts the sexual history of actor Felix Dern, whose seemingly perfect life is blighted by the fact that every woman he sleeps with bears his child.
Crace is not well known, at least not in Australia, despite winning a swag of awards. If you've read him, please share your impressions. If not, write his name on your recommended reading list.