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Harvest (Vintage) Paperback


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Harvest (Vintage) + The Luminaries: A Novel (Man Booker Prize) + The Lowland
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307278972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307278975
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The order and calm of a preindustrial village in England is upset by a mysterious fire and the simultaneous appearance of three strangers. The insular community strikes out against the newcomers but turns on itself in a fit, literally, of witch hunting. As slowly paced as the feudal England in which it is set, this latest by the highly acclaimed Crace, winner of the Man Booker Prize for Quarantine (1998), is a tour de force written in the precise but simple—indeed, medieval—language of its resident narrator, Walter Thirsk. His eye is keen, his observations insightful, and his fundamental compassion evident as he experiences the passing of his and his community’s pastoral quiet. This is a spare, disquieting, unique, and ultimately haunting and memorable little novel. Its limited accessibility may restrict its audience, but followers of literary fiction will be reading and talking about it. --Mark Levine --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Longlisted for the Man Booker prize!

"Jim Crace is the most generous of writers. A fabulist, an open heart, an imagination in full flight. There is something of a harvest in every book: the promise, the violence, the fall, the regain. And Harvest is one of his best novels ever. He is, quite simply, one of the great writers of our time."  Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

"Glorious ... Harvest calls to mind J. M. Coetzee’s finest and most allegorical novel, Waiting for the Barbarians ... Crace writes with a particular, haunting empathy for the displaced ... His plots may be epic, but his sentences carry a sensual charge ... In his compassionate curiosity and his instincts for insurgent uncertainty, Crace surely ranks among our greatest novelists of radical upheaval, a perfect fit for our unstable, unforgiving age." The New York Times Book Review

"The most seductive and enthralling of Crace’s novels." New Statesman

"[Harvest] is intellectually and morally engaging while also being exciting to read ... Mr. Crace's imagery brilliantly suggests the loamy, lyric glories of rustic English language and life ... [he] devotes his considerable talents to telling an affecting tale of a bound world and its simple people as they head toward a tragic and inexorable breakdown."
—Wall Street Journal

"Surreptitiously thought-provoking ... Harvest attains a haunting and almost subversive quality." —Boston Globe

"Ravishingly rich in evocations of country life ... Crace’s prose is so sensual you can’t help but believe it describes an actual material place. But this village is like the forests of the Brothers Grimm, a setting meant to be both familiar and strange. If you think Crace is only talking about the shift from the medieval to the modern world, you’d be very, very wrong." Salon

"In language beautiful and painstakingly precise, Jim Crace circumscribes the story as neatly as a fairy tale ... Entirely absorbing." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Harvest is as finely written as it is tautly structured. Pungently flavoured with archaic words, its language is exhilaratingly exact, sometimes poetic and sometimes stark. Magnificently resurrecting a pivotal moment in our history about which it is deeply knowledgeable, this simultaneously elegiac and unillusioned novel is an achievement worthy to stand alongside those of Crace’s great fictional ­influence, William Golding." The Sunday Times

"Crace, an original and a literary stylist, with, usually, something remarkable to say, says it here in a haunting work of sudden violence and vengeance ... Few novels as fine or as complex in their apparent simplicity will be published this, or indeed any, year." —Irish Times

"As with Crace's other novels, Harvest is deftly written, in language — formal, slightly archaic even — that reflects the setting it describes. It's also tightly plotted ... Crace's real concern is his characters, the way that, like all of us, they make mistakes and act from weakness, and turn on one another when things go wrong." —Los Angeles Times

"Crace’s signature measured delivery and deliberate focus create unforgettably poetic passages that quiver with beauty. An electrifying return to form." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Rarely does language so plainspoken and elemental tell a story so richly open to interpretation on so many different levels....With economy and grace, the award-winning Crace gives his work a simplicity and symmetry that belie the disturbances beneath the consciousness of its narrator....Crace continues to occupy a singular place in contemporary literature."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Customer Reviews

Crace is not only a fine story teller but he is a fine writer as well.
Joan Stevens
Because he's the main character, it throws the whole sense of period out of medieval times frequently and I found that distracting.
polarisbookfan
This is a book that could be read twice in the same week-end and be as enjoyable the second time around as the first.
Tropical Gal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Martin Zook on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harvest is a wicked and delightful read.

As is the case with many of Crace's story lines, it's a relatively simple one: The placid order of a remote, pre-industrial English village and the estate upon which it depends, is disrupted by a number of events that include three mysterious squatters who come into conflict with both the 60 people who call the village home, and the ruling authorities of the estate. The estate's precarious equilibrium is also threatened by a new "order" imposed by a new owner, whose entrance is seemingly a result of history and economic development, and by happenstance.

Thematically, there's much of the pagan and reverence for mother earth in this tome.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Walter Thirsk, who is an interloper through the story. He has a modern appeal in his ironic perspective and expressions, while his perspective is deeply rooted in the timeless relationship of man and nature.

I don't want to reveal too much of how all this unfolds for fear of ruining the reading experience. But there are about as many turns and twists in the narrative as can be bundled into a 208-page narrative.

For those who relish the reward of reading a well-crafted mystery/thriller, Harvest will yield bountiful results. Crace is one of a few top-drawer stylists on the isle of England. And, I find Harvest consistent with other wonderful books he has written.

For those of us who prefer some thought - given the characters and the action what are the possibilities going forward - Crace weaves that into the text effortlessly, and invisibly for those who don't want to clutter up their reading experience with too much thinking.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Acorn on April 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is narrated by Walter Thirsk, a farmer on the Jordan Estate somewhere in England. The hamlet where he lives is a day's walk from the nearest church or inn and there are few visitors. The lord of the manor, Master Kent, is kindly. He and Walter were childhood friends and Walter worked as his servant before marrying a local woman and taking up farming. The small village has no name and we are not told the time or specific location, but we are in sixteenth century England as the commons are being enclosed and an ancient way of life is coming to an end.

The master's cousin, who has title to the lands, is planning to turn the estate over to sheep farming. From Henry VIII on, the Tudors set up a regime of tariff protection and subsidies to build the wool industry. It is the sort of economic policy that gives modern free trade advocates apoplexy, but it laid the foundation for Britain's wealth over the next few centuries, albeit at a human cost.

The novel opens the day after the harvest. Already there are signs of the old settled ways being disturbed. Someone has set fire to the master's stables, a man engaged by the master is mapping the village, and some outsiders have arrived and set up residence. The latter are not welcome - the harvest is meagre enough and the local population has been dwindling because there are too many mouths to feed.

The culprits who set the fire are known, except to the master, but the villagers seek to shift the blame to the newcomers. The villagers are also fearful and distrustful of the strange man who is mapping the land and they wonder what he is about.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K. on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The novel opens with mystery and intrigue. We get drawn in as a village collectively remains silent on a moral question of dire circumstances. Things only go downhill from that point, as the life they are accustomed to morphs into something else entirely. We watch as a whole community loses their grip on morality and even sanity at the same time they lose everything else. And at one point, it seems as though the novel is building toward something grand, something amazing, something cataclysmic. And yet, it fails to deliver. After about the halfway point, the story slumps, offering nothing else noteworthy; alluding to the possibility of a major reveal or perhaps a strong/shocking twist but never delving any further than surface level. Indeed, we get nothing in the conclusion. The story painfully limps along during the last 1/3 or so, and then it just -simply- ends, leaving us with a lot of unanswered questions and a protagonist who finally makes the choice he should have made long before. Perhaps it was a plot device to add bulk? Or maybe it was an opportunity to provide more insight into the mind of the main character as justification for his actions. Either way, I'd say it was ill-advised. I certainly felt disappointed in the anti-climactic nature of this novel.

This book is also weighed down by dense though alluring prose sprinkled with very little dialogue. As such, it seems to stretch on for much longer than it's slim binding would suggest. I can't say it's an easy read but it is definitely gorgeous.

Cautiously recommended for lovers of the Literary genre, only, as I don't see how anyone else would really enjoy this book.
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