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All That Follows: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 20, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Leonard Lessing, the British protagonist of Crace's surprisingly bad 10th novel (after The Pesthouse), has Walter Mitty–like dreams of being a revolutionary that are invariably short-circuited by his fear of making a disturbance. In 2006, Leonard, while in Austin, Tex., to reconnect with ex-flame Nadia, is bullied into assuming the role of activist by Maxie, the founder of Snipers Without Bullets, who is living with Nadia and who has gotten her pregnant. Though Maxie appalls Leonard, he nevertheless halfheartedly takes part in an action against Laura Bush that leads to Nadia's arrest and her daughter, Lucy, being born in prison. Eighteen years later, Leonard sees a news story about Maxie, who has taken a British family hostage. While gawking at the proceedings, Leonard runs into Lucy and gets drawn, once again, into a cockeyed scheme that begins Leonard's unlikely reunion with Nadia and a partial, ironic fulfillment of his dream of being an iconic radical. Unfortunately, Crace's novel is held hostage by the listlessness that emanates from chickenhearted Leonard and the embarrassing stereotypes that clutter many of the scenes, especially those set in Texas. This is a feeble effort for a novelist of Crace's stature. (Apr.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Reaction to All That Follows was decidedly mixed, with most critics agreeing that it is not Crace's best work. While several reviewers described his writing as "elegant," others found it overwritten and self-conscious: the Boston Globe cited too much "writerly riffing." While some enjoyed the in-depth passages on jazz music, others found them a bit tedious. Jim Crace is one of England's most beloved and award-winning contemporary novelists, but readers new to his work may want to seek out earlier titles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese; 1St Edition edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038552076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385520768
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,218,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ChazzW on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Lessing - stage name Lennie Less - is a saxophone player who has lost his zest for playing, lost the zest in his marriage, and lost the zest for engagement. So he's taking a break. An extended one that has his wife increasingly impatient with him, and he knows it. He also knows she is right. Then one day, Lennie sees a face on the news (he's a news and media junkie) that is straight out of the past, and he's jarred. Back in the day....

Well, I should say the novel takes place in a future world, but one not unrecognizable, not too far into the future: 2024. An odd, but interesting choice. That world, 14 years on from our own, hasn't changed all that much, except in subtle ways. Personal freedoms seem to have been reduced, but not so that most people recognize that fact. If the loss of personal freedoms is a creeping loss, then this is what it would look like. "Security" and the forces that keep us "safe" seem to have grown, in the same creeping way. We've (they) have accepted it as the price necessary.

So. Back in the day is 2006, and Lennie had spent some time in Austin, Texas with Max and his girlfriend Nadia in that year. Max had befriended Nadia in England and had his own designs on her, but upon arrival in Austin, he found her living with Max. The three of them were political activists: Max of the radical and confrontational kind, Lennie of the more muted variety, with ""Red" Nadia somewhere between the two. When Max had left Austin (not on the best of terms with either of them), he had not seen them since. But now there was Max on the television, right in the middle of a hostage taking. He decides to go to the scene of the crisis (Max had not yet been identified).

On the way there in his car, he listens to an old concert of his.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Williams on June 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's not hard not to envy a talent like Jim Crace's. It seemed primed to detonate from the beginning. His first story ("Annie, California Plates") - now filed by Crace in the drawer marked "wistful juvenilia" - was accepted by Ian Hamilton, the notoriously hard-to-please editor of The New Review. There's the shelf full of awards, especially for his two crowning achievements, Quarantine and Being Dead. There's the musical quality and power of his prose - comparisons with Melville have been drawn. Unlike too many authors and critics, Crace doesn't think a London postcode is a prerequisite for the job. Using his gifts to map another imaginary landscape (England, 2024), how could he fail?

Well (and there's no nice way to say this), he does. The 'alternate world' genre is as unforgiving as comedy: you either floor the reader or you fail. Your themes and counterpoints to the real world either come across as powerful and subtle, or they come across as wistful and dreamy. The dystopian England of 2024, basically, is the same as it is now - just more militant about people boozing and smoking, more paranoid about security. Here, Crace's approach is low-key, as with Ian McEwan's comparable stories "Two Fragments: Saturday and Sunday, March 199-". We get the point about the main character - he's a mellowed rebel, unsure about what he does, so making his eventual actions somehow more heroic - but we don't really feel it. He's just not interesting enough.

Crace has done stories like this before, and with talent to spare. This one, much like The Pesthouse before it, isn't worthy of their company.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cipriano on May 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Picture yourself sitting down with a cup of tea [in England] in front of your television, tuned to CNN's [maybe BBC's?] latest breaking news. There on the screen you recognize the face of the terrorist.
More precisely, his hair. You know this guy.
So you pull up an archived image from the "on-screen toolbar" [the year is 2024 so the technology is there...] and sure enough -- this "terrorist" is an old acquaintance of yours. You haven't seen him for 18 years, but that hair gives him away.
This is exactly what happens to Jim Crace's protagonist in the new novel All That Follows.
Leonard Lessing is a middle-of-the-road jazz saxophonist taking a bit of a breather from the music circuit due to a terrible shoulder injury. He's had his own brief / half-hearted history of social activism, but apparently his friend Maxie Lermontov has continued to be a radical.
Here he is on the tele, holding an entire family hostage in a nearby house.
Intrigued, Leonard joins the throng of media and curious onlookers at the actual scene, and there he discovers Maxie's teen-age daughter, Lucy -- who has made the courageous move [one Leonard was hesitant of doing] of identifying her father to the authorities.
Leonard befriends her and becomes embroiled in her scheme to force her father to surrender before anyone is harmed.
The pre-story is that back in Austin, Texas [2006], Maxie and Nadia [<-- Lucy's mother] along with Leonard, had staged a botched attempt to heckle the then-president of the United States, George W. Bush. At that time, Lucy was still in the gestational stage of life, and Leonard was madly in love with the pregnant Nadia.
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