Harvest

by Jim Crace | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0143187406 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingmathgirl40wing of Waterloo, Ontario Canada on 9/6/2013
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19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingmathgirl40wing from Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 06, 2013
Welcome to BookCrossing! This is a site for catching and releasing books for those who want to share the joy of reading. If you find this book, please leave a journal entry to let previous readers know how and where you found the book. Feel free to do this anonymously if you wish. You are welcome to keep the book, but I encourage you to pass it on and let it continue its journey.

Description from the book's jacket:
On the morning after harvest, the inhabitants of a remote English village awaken looking forward to a hard-earned day of rest and feasting at their landowner's table. But the sky is marred by two conspicuous columns of smoke, replacing pleasurable anticipation with alarm and suspicion.
One smoke column is the result of an overnight fire that has damaged the master's outbuildings. The second column rises from the wooded edge of the village, sent up by newcomers to announce their presence. In the minds of the wary villagers a mere coincidence of events appears to be unlikely, with violent confrontation looming as the unavoidable outcome. Meanwhile, another newcomer has recently been spotted taking careful notes and making drawings of the land. It is his presence more than any other that will threaten the village's entire way of life.
In effortless and tender prose, Jim Crace details the unraveling of a pastoral idyll in the wake of economic progress. His tale is timeless and unsettling, framed by a beautifully evoked world that will linger in your memory long after you finish reading.

Journal Entry 2 by wingmathgirl40wing at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 06, 2013
This beautifully written book, about how a small village reacts to violent intrusions from the outside world, has made it onto the 2013 Man Booker Prize longlist. I'm reserving it for a bookring.

Journal Entry 3 by sjt105 at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Thursday, September 12, 2013
A wonderful story about enclosure and how it effected one man. The story is told from his perspective without background or preamble. Really enjoyed that style.

Journal Entry 4 by wingmathgirl40wing at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 13, 2013
This book is back in my hands now and reserved for the bookring. The participants are listed below. This is the bookring link:
http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum/20/497845

sjt105 (Canada)
valpete (US, will ship internationally)
JudySlump612 (US, will ship to UK)
Cassandra2020 (UK, will ship to UK)
carmendoran (UK, will ship to UK)
Blue_berry (UK, will ship to EU)
vaga-bonde (Switzerland, will ship to Europe, US, Canada)
vassilka (Greece, will ship to EU)
sintra (Germany, will ship to EU)
Tarna (Finland, will ship internationally)
Stoepbrak (South Africa, will ship internationally)
Icila (France, will ship internationally)
Twinfather (Netherlands, will ship to Europe)
Abi-Gibby (UK, will ship to Europe)
ruzena (Finland, will ship internationally)
Edwardstreet (New Zealand, prefer shipping to New Zealand or Australia)
catsalive (Australia, will ship internationally)

Journal Entry 5 by wingmathgirl40wing at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 13, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (9/13/2013 UTC) at Waterloo, Ontario Canada

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I've sent this book off to valpete!

Journal Entry 6 by wingvalpetewing at Walnut Creek, California USA on Thursday, September 19, 2013
Thanks, I received it today. Looking forward to reading it. I'll get to it ASAP.

Journal Entry 7 by wingvalpetewing at Walnut Creek, California USA on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I chose this book, as it was short listed for the Booker prize. Set in the middle ages in an unnamed town, it tells the story of "progress." In this case, going from farming to sheep grazing. It was an interesting commentary on the historical transition from an agricultural Europe to a more industrial one. However, I found the writing style to be ponderous, told in the first person by Walt, a relative outsider to the village, although he had lived there for a number of years.

There was an underlying cruelty & violence that made me uneasy especially when it came to little Lizzie Carr. Although there is definitely substance in this novel, it left me feeling dark and gloomy.

Journal Entry 8 by wingvalpetewing at Walnut Creek, California USA on Sunday, November 24, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (11/24/2013 UTC) at Walnut Creek, California USA

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On its way to the next reader. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 9 by wingJudySlump612wing at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Saturday, November 30, 2013
Arrived here safely yesterday - thank you!

Journal Entry 10 by wingJudySlump612wing at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I agree with valpeete that the writing style was ponderous. I also found myself growing irritated with the narrator for his unwillingness to take action. And just as a personal quirk, I've never cared for novels written in the present tense.

The mood is certainly bleak. We usually think of harvest as a time of accomplishment and satisfaction, maybe even rejoicing. Here, Crace is careful to describe the landscape as colorless and cold (reading this in the depths of a Minnesota winter may have sensitized me to this), and even at the festival hosted by Master Kent, nobody is having much fun.

And the village, not a sympathetic place. The first event in the book is the fire on the master's property, and the question of who caused it. And hey, look, there are some strangers that just showed up from out of town! So with NO attempt to find any evidence, the three strangers are harshly punished. I disagree with the jacket's description of the "pastoral idyll." The crops are just barely adequate (or not), the population is dwindling, and the community has no pleasure nor pride. There's a great sentence on page 73: "We in this village walk around in blinded ignorance." Ostensibly Walt is talking about the lack of mirrors, but I think Crace intended a wider application.

So why did I rate is at seven stars? First, there's a lot of vivid detail about the daily life of a tiny (probably) medieval village, and I always enjoy good history. But most of all, Crace is a compelling writer. I disliked almost every character, and certainly the behavior of the villagers, and still could not keep myself from continuing to read. Infuriating!

Journal Entry 11 by wingJudySlump612wing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (1/15/2014 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Mailed to Cassandra2020 for bookring

Journal Entry 12 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, January 23, 2014
Arrived this morning, Thank You! - can't wait to read it!

Journal Entry 13 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, February 03, 2014
Harvest by Jim Crace - very good

This was shortlisted for the Man Booker 2013, so when I saw the BX Bookring, I just
had to sign up for it.

The story is set in an unnamed English village at an unstated date in time, but must be around Tudor times/1500s - I won't say why, but something that we learn mid-way through the book would suggest that.

The harvest is in. That same night two things happen: the Master's outbuildings catch fire and three strangers arrive and build a makeshift dwelling with a camp fire - the time honoured way of staking a claim. Ignorance and superstition rule the day and these strangers are blamed for the fire. Not really a surprise. I know other readers/reviewers questioned this, but why would an insular village where everyone is related look to find the real culprit when there are strangers who can take the blame and also be frightened away as a result.

From there the whole village unravels. Again, I won't go into too much detail as it might spoil the book, but the whole tale is the story of isolation and fear of the future. These villagers have never been outside their village - the only exceptions are the Master and Walter Thirsk: the man who came with him when he married into the village and our narrator. When the inevitable changes come as the world progresses, they find their very existences challenged and their world comes crashing down.

Whilst quite a bleak book, it was a pleasant change to read something that, I suspect, reflects how life really was rather than the usual bucolic idyll of rosy cheeked maids & jolly peasants. Life was short and bleak and people worked long and hard to merely survive, they would be scared of change and superstitious. Exactly as portrayed here.

Only one thing grated, and then only slightly: as the book was about an English village I found the American spelling of words incongruous.

Journal Entry 14 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, February 06, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (2/6/2014 UTC) at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

posted out today. Apologies for the delay, it's been in my bag for 4 days & kept getting home having forgotten to go to the Post Office.

Also a further thought on spelling... this is a Canadian edition, I wonder if the spelling was adjusted for a North American audience....

Journal Entry 15 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, February 08, 2014
Received with thanks! I'll start this after my current read.

Journal Entry 16 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This was a very good and intriguing read. There was a subtle menacing undertone; a general dread of change and doom which from the narrator's point of view was imminent. I could not fault the narrator's choices and reasoning; he was at a mercy of others and did not have any power over the masters. The setting made me think of this distant period in history about which I didn't know anything. Still the human condition and questions remain the same through the times.

Highly original and recommendable!

Journal Entry 17 by Blue_berry at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (2/26/2014 UTC) at London, Greater London United Kingdom

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Sending to the next reader in the BR, enjoy!

Journal Entry 18 by wingvaga-bondewing at Pregny-Chambésy, Genève Switzerland on Saturday, March 01, 2014
Received this morning. Thanks!

Journal Entry 19 by wingvaga-bondewing at Pregny-Chambésy, Genève Switzerland on Monday, March 10, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (3/10/2014 UTC) at Pregny-Chambésy, Genève Switzerland

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A seemingly idyllic rural community falls into chaos. Foreigners are blamed, as is always and forever the case, to this day. Poetic style, chilling account.

Mailed to vassilka this morning.

Journal Entry 20 by vassilka at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Received it this morning along with a nice post card! Thank you vaga-bonde:-)

Journal Entry 21 by vassilka at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Thursday, March 27, 2014
When I first took the book in my hands I found the cover impressive and I was hoping I'd feel the same for the story. I was intrigued reading it by the reviews of those who read it before me. Well, I wasn't impressed at all and I was glad when it was over! It was bleak all right but it's not just that. I didn't like any of the characters. They all showed the worst of the human nature -except for Mr Quill and Lizzie. Even Mr Kent took decisions that caused a death and -later- pain to other people. As for the narrator I couldn't stand his attitude. On the other hand maybe that's how common people are, they don't risk, they take care only of themselves, they protect themselves although they might hurt or cause pain to other human beings.

I've got sintra's address. The book will soon be posted to Germany.

Journal Entry 22 by vassilka at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Saturday, March 29, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (3/28/2014 UTC) at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece

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Off to sintra in Germany. Happy reading sintra:-)

Journal Entry 23 by sintra at Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Saturday, April 05, 2014
The book arrived safely and will be read soon. Thanks a lot! :)

Journal Entry 24 by wingTarnawing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Arrived today. Thank you, sintra!
For the last couple weeks reading hasn't been too easy for me (due to the eye operation I had this month). I suppose the situation will stay like this at least some six weeks or so. But I'll Harvest a try. If I don't make it, I'll just pass the book on unread. Hoping it won't come to that, though.

Jim Crace at Wikipedia

Journal Entry 25 by wingTarnawing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, August 01, 2014
I know I said I'd pass the book on unread if I didn't manage to read it in time. But I couldn't.
It's so good. I love the way Jim Crace writes, I enjoyed every sentence and each word, really. To me, Harvest was unbelievable slow read, though. But it offered me such a great reading experience, and I'd sure be interested in reading him more. Thank you so much for it, mathgirl40.

Last night, I took the book to the mailbox that was emptied 8 am. today. So, Harvest is on its way to Stoepbrak. It will take some time before he gets it, though, because it's travelling in economy class. But it is travelling, and that's the main thing, isn't it?

Journal Entry 26 by wingTarnawing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, August 01, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (7/31/2014 UTC) at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland

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The book started its journey this morning. It's travelling in economy class, so it'll take some before it gets to South Africa. Happy reading, Stoepbrak!

Journal Entry 27 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The book arrived safely on the other side of the globe. Thanks for passing it on, Tarna, and for hosting the ring, mathgirl40.

I should get to it fairly shortly.

Journal Entry 28 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Friday, September 05, 2014

Sometimes when I read a good book, I fool myself that if I really applied my mind and put in a lot of research and effort and polishing, I might be able to produce something similar. With other books I realise after a mere page or two that I won't be able to write something like this in a million years.

Harvest falls firmly in the second category. The story is set in medieval England but its theme is timeless. The only thing guaranteed in life is change. How does one react to drastic change? What is right and has value if everything is turned on its head all of a sudden?

What this book does in remarkable fashion is to analyse the effects of change on different people and their environment. What sets it apart from many similar books is the unique style of the narrator: someone at once separate from and one with the community. On the one hand his observations are beautifully crafted; on the other he is slowly fueling the reader's building unease about where this seems to be heading. His final actions, the result of immense inner turmoil, are both unexpected and, well, right.

A powerful tale: a solid 9. One of those that will linger and probably stay with me in some form for years.

A minor distraction: why use American English to tell a story so essentially (British) English? For me it compromised the book's authenticity somewhat.

Winner: James Tait Black Novel 2014.
Shortlist: Man Booker 2013.

Journal Entry 29 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (9/17/2014 UTC) at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:


It took a bit longer than planned, but the book is finally on its way to Icila in France. I posted it this morning, opting for surface mail. Quite often a tracked package like this gets lucky and is included with items dispatched by airmail. Only time will tell.

International tracking number: RJ030694575ZA
http://www.postoffice.co.za/tools/trackandtrace.html
http://www.track-trace.com/post

Sections of the SA postal services are currently on strike, which is likely to cause delays.

Edited 2014-11-16 to add: The strike still hasn't been resolved yet, but with temporary staff some functions could continue, though slower. According to the tracking system, the book left SA shores on 2014-10-09.

Journal Entry 30 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
And here it is ! All the way up. Thank you for the beautiful stamps.

Journal Entry 31 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Monday, January 26, 2015
Sorry for the delay.
A beautiful tale who speaks of the change which can obliterate all that we take for granted.
Thank you for sharing.

Journal Entry 32 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (1/28/2015 UTC) at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France

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On its way to Twinfather in The Netherlands.

Journal Entry 33 by Twinfather at Gouda, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, February 06, 2015
Book arrived safely in Gouda. Straight on top of Mt TBR!

Journal Entry 34 by Twinfather at Gouda, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, February 23, 2015
Choose to join this bookring because of the storyline. And the nomination for the Booker prize helped. But it was a disappointment for me. I agree with other members of this ring on the use of language: ponderous. The American spelling was weird, because it was set in England and the writer is English. I thought the story wasn't that well told with some plot decisions that were very sudden and random. The first person narrator (Walt) isn't a person I could relate to as were the other characters. Sadly because the start of this tale is promising and some scene are told vividly. Although this book wasn't for me I'm glad that it was enjoyed by other readers. And when one doesn't try one doesn't know.

Thanks for sharing mathgirl40!

I'll post the book this week to Abi-Gibby.

Journal Entry 35 by wingAbi-Gibbywing at Millbrook, Cornwall United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Book arrived safely today :)

Journal Entry 36 by wingAbi-Gibbywing at Millbrook, Cornwall United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
I thought this book would be right up my street with being based around the industry I work in (agriculture) and being a history fiction book but sadly I have given 3 quarters of the way into the hook :(

I'm In complete agreement with every one when they say about the writing style being a bit ponderous. I found that things were not looked into properly firstly we start with a fire in the dove loft, then "oh look there's strangers here lets blame them for the fire without looking properly into what happend"

Also I found it annoying that some of the words were spelt the American way in a book that's based in England and having an English author



Journal Entry 37 by wingAbi-Gibbywing at Millbrook, Cornwall United Kingdom on Friday, March 06, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (3/6/2015 UTC) at Millbrook, Cornwall United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Congratulations, you have picked up a travelling book!
If you have a moment, we'd love you to let us know you have the book as we're keen to follow its journey. You can even post a review when you've read it before passing it on to the next lucky person.
Happy reading!


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Journal Entry 38 by wingruzenawing at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Friday, March 20, 2015
The book arrived today.
@Abi-Gibby: no problem in passing the book on: it is a bookring book, either going to the next participant if there will be one, or returning to mathgirl. :)

Journal Entry 39 by wingruzenawing at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, May 10, 2015
The language and style are unique, reflecting the time described. I think I hardly ever before read something like this. I think it is also due to the present tense, in which most of the novel is written, that one gets the feel of the atmosphere of the time in that society. But in spite of the bygone era where the story is located, it is a thought-provoking allegory that deserves to be read at any time. Highly recommended! Thank you mathgirl for sharing.

Journal Entry 40 by wingruzenawing at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, May 10, 2015

Released 4 yrs ago (5/7/2015 UTC) at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland

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The book is travelling *Economy Class* to Edwardstreet, NZ.

Journal Entry 41 by wingEdwardstreetwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Letter box surprise will read and move on asap

On to the next reader, I do hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Told through the eyes of the widower Walt, observing the kind of madness and fear that can take over a community. This is an allegorical tale told in the most beautiful descriptive language. Thank you for sharing.

Journal Entry 43 by catsalive at Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, May 28, 2015
Thanks, Edwardstreet. Where does it go after me? Back to you, mathgirl40?

Journal Entry 44 by catsalive at Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
A nicely written story about the enclosures. Jordan, the landowner, got his way quite easily - the witchcraft excuse fell in nicely with his plans. One can't help wondering if the "Beldams" were there at his instigation. An odd, eerie, lyrical quality.

Thanks for including me in the bookray.

Journal Entry 45 by catsalive at Wishlist tag game, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Friday, February 05, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (2/5/2016 UTC) at Wishlist tag game, RABCK -- Controlled Releases

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Sent to crimson-tide for the Wishlist Tag game.

Journal Entry 46 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Thanks for the tag, catsalive. Looks interesting.

Edit 23rd August 2016:
Reserved for jeniwren as a wishlist tag.

Journal Entry 47 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Monday, September 05, 2016
A compelling though disturbing read, with the language and style befitting the time. Agree though about the incongruous and extremely annoying use of 'American English'. The centuries and the settings may change, but human nature unfortunately hasnt. Fear change, fear the foreigner, look after number one, and destroy everything that even hints at being a threat.

Journal Entry 48 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Tom Price, Western Australia Australia on Monday, September 05, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (9/5/2016 UTC) at Tom Price, Western Australia Australia

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Posted off to jeniwren as a wishlist tag.

Journal Entry 49 by wingjeniwrenwing at Greigs Flat, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Thankyou Crimson-tide for sending this well- travelled book. How wonderful to know that this book has visited no less than 13 differnt countries so far on its travels. Looking forward to reading and then I will send it on its way once more.......

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