6 journalers for this copy...
Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Zoologists Joseph and Celice returned to the site of their first lovemaking to rekindle the flame thirty years into their marriage, only to be battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their bodies lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand-crabs, flies and gulls, and yet there is something touching about this scene--it's in the way that Joseph's hand curves lightly around Celice's leg, "quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead but not departed yet."
Being Dead is more about the leavings of death than it is about the state of death itself. Running crazy fate lines between the past and present of Joseph and Celice, Crace returns again and again to those mutilated bodies in the dunes with updates on the colour of their decaying skin, the seeping fluids and the creatures feeding off them. This is not a murder book-- the killer is perhaps the least important character. But Crace gives some wonderful glances at death- professionals, in particular a drugged-up lascivious mortuary clerk; "He'd find his own name on the list one day...Enfin, a name to make his heart stand still. Sincere at last."
Jim Crace is the author of Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress and Quarantine, which won the 1997 Whitbread Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize and IMPAC Literary Prize. Crace has won numerous other awards, including the EM Forster Award and the Guardian Fiction Award. -- Anna Davis --
The author ponders the redemptive power of secular love in this novel. Their bodies had expired, but anyone looking at them could see that Joseph and Celice were still devoted, the couple seemed to have achieved a peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder. They were still man and wife, quietly resting, dead but not yet departed
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At the Mini BC meeting In Darwin Can't Wait to meet Y'all
Hopefully the next reader will be more appreciative.
Thanks for your generosity amberC.
"Being Dead" is certainly a very different sort of book. Well written, original, and has a haunting quality to it, especially towards the end. Can't say I enjoyed it as such, but definitely appreciated it.
Now off on a trip to New Zealand.
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