Read În clipa morții by Jim Crace Radu Paraschivescu Online


Iubirea si moartea fac pereche buna intre dunele de sare de la Baritone Bay. Joseph si Celice, profesori de zoologie, isi joaca ultima carte a destinului in acelasi loc in care a inceput povestea lor de dragoste, in urma cu treizeci de ani. Golful cantator, personajul principal al romanului, devine un fel de Mare Inchizitor naturalist, relansand intrebari nelinistitoare. CIubirea si moartea fac pereche buna intre dunele de sare de la Baritone Bay. Joseph si Celice, profesori de zoologie, isi joaca ultima carte a destinului in acelasi loc in care a inceput povestea lor de dragoste, in urma cu treizeci de ani. Golful cantator, personajul principal al romanului, devine un fel de Mare Inchizitor naturalist, relansand intrebari nelinistitoare. Ce urmeaza dupa moarte? In nici un caz vreun purgatoriu crestin, cu prezente angelice si imnuri in surdina. Ci sase zile "de gratie", un alt fel de Geneza, in care trupurile lui Joseph si Celice vor fi adjudecate dunelor sau iubirii - indelung asteptate - a unei fiice risipitoare....

Title : În clipa morții
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789735014827
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 204 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

În clipa morții Reviews

  • Tyler
    2019-04-21 21:34

    Craft and good writing make this book a hit with many readers. Innovative form and thinking prose set the right words in the right places. The story brings readers an introspective reflection upon death, seen through the lens of a married couple whom it overtakes.The form of the story weaves along three tracks: One moves the couple back in time from the occasion of their deaths; the next parallels that with a forward-moving tale of their early lives; and the final track contrasts with the first two the physical disposition of their bodies, and with other impersonal events unfolding in the days after their deaths, juxtaposing untended corpses with their living antecedents. So far so good. But as the actual story unfolded, I started having problems.Now the theme of doomed flesh has been a recent innovation, but only in visual media. I first noticed it in nature programs that show what happens after the kill. In one, about the Amazon, my eyes popped as I saw piranhas strip some hapless mammal to its bones in forty seconds flat. In another, about Africa, my jaw dropped as the camera lingered upon insects I have never even heard of, showing them devouring a dying giraffe in a similar instant, almost before the animal’s head hit the ground. Demise of the flesh is also the subject of the recent documentary about that body farm in Tennessee where the decomposition of human cadavers is studied – you know, the one broadcasting last year on an almost endless loop so you couldn’t avoid it no matter what. American crime serials like CSI now stress close-ups of drying or decaying body parts, meaty human bone fragments, blood spatter and what have you. Film gave us Eyes Wide Shut, in which Tom Cruise leans in as if to kiss the dead streetwalker in the morgue. I used to imagine what would happen at that garish moment if Tom had slid out his warm, wet tongue to glide it along her chilled, bluish-green skin. Needless to say, the theaters would have been packed to the girders. As it stands, the movie was a total cop-out, not just for that but for the pathetically botched orgy scene as well. Enough. What these visual treatments suggest is a market, so it was only a matter of time before writers tried to convert images to words. Crace attempts a seamless stitching, yet the postmortem descriptions stand stubbornly apart from the narration of the first two temporal strands. It's like reading two books. Compounding the problem is the third-person voice. Though understandable, it discourages sympathetic identification. The reader becomes an observer, not a participant. Pushing away the reader as well is the couple, two British doctors of zoology. Here’s another idea with merit: zoology = nature = materialism. This couple expresses perfectly the impersonal quality the author seeks. But their status as British academics puts them in a league most readers cannot hope to love. Nothing I read of their lifestyle elicited my sympathy. Their clothing, housing, breakfast choices, entertainment and all-around attitude were as alien to me as if they had dropped from the sky. A colder and more cheerless pair I have never come across. Their icy standoffishness depicts a slice of humanity so removed from most that it cadges the imagination. This book is about death, we are told, about how life is really an aberration, death our real destiny. Even a baby is born dying, we read. Life is fragile, fleeting, impotent – scarcely worth the effort except by pitiable self-delusion. The point is stated page after page, and even during the same paragraph, wherein three or four sentences express it in different words. Take away the creative writing that covers the repetition and say hello to a 200-page exaltation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Dwelling on ruined flesh has no more appeal for me in books than it does in the visual media, and I found the story hard to engage beyond a creeping feeling of mild disgust. Being Dead has won a major book award. Its writing really is superior; the contrast of life and death is its key literary innovation. This may be exactly what many readers are looking for, and for them the rest will be secondary. Then there are peculiar and narrowly focused minds that can fully appreciate the precise contents that flesh out the story. So with those two exceptions, I do not recommend this book.

  • Maciek
    2019-03-28 19:15

    I was really looking forward to reading Being Dead - I read a review mentioning it somewhere, and was intrigued ever since. I have read several novels by Jim Crace by now, and found him to be a good stylist versatile author, with each subsequent book being a very different experience from the one before. That being said, I sadly found Being Dead to be a great disappointment. Being Dead is concerned with Joseph and Celice, a pair of middle-aged zoologists who return to visit the coast where they met as students more than 30 years ago, with hopes for a romantic evening. Instead they are disturbed in an act of intimacy by a stranger who kills them both and plunders their possessions, leaving their naked bodies left to rot.What follows if a non-linear accounts of Joseph's and Celice's life - their careers, marriage and relationship with estranged daughter - and post-mortem: the slow decay of their dead bodies, and how they react to elements, insects and animals now feasting on them. This is an interesting juxtaposition, but the book never evolves much beyond it - there is little to make us care for Joseph and Celice, both in life and death, and the whole book ends up being more of an experiment than a novel. Why should we care for these people? Did we learn anything at all from their story? These questions can be answered only if a book meets the prerequisite of having both real people and real story, but Being Dead sadly ends up having neither.

  • Tony
    2019-04-17 23:20

    Amoebolites and monophyles enjoy eternity. We do not. We die. We will live longer than dusk bugs - for every bug must have its day - but not nearly as long as land tortoises. We're less than turtles. We have to die before they do. We must. It's programmed that we will. Our births are just the gateway to our deaths. That's why a baby screams when it is born. Don't write that in your notes. They who begin to live begin to die. It's downhill from the womb, from when the sperm locates the egg and latches on.And that's not the morbid part. No, Celice and Joseph, an older couple, and both zoologists head out to the dunes. They attempt sex, and come real close. Then they are killed. Then nature - the sun, the rain, the beetles and the crabs - has at their bodies.That would be the morbid part. We die, Jim Crace says. Get over it, he seems also to be saying. Other than that, their daughter - who never really cared for them - tries to find them when they turn up missing. The police find them first, what's left. But as she wonders if she's happy actually, or appropriately grieving, she finds a Mason jar in her parents' home. Nineteen little nubs. Each of her child's teeth (not counting the one she was forced to leave at school). So, you know, it had its moments.I wasn't shocked. I wasn't grossed out. But I kept hearing that Dylan song, It's All Right, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), as I was reading this; and in particular the line: That he not busy being born is busy dying.

  • Roger Brunyate
    2019-04-10 23:14

    Life CycleThis is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read, vying with D. M. Thomas' The White Hotel for poetic originality, though quite different in manner. And one of the most extraordinary things about it is that it makes no claim to concern itself with world events at all, but something utterly ordinary: the death of a middle-aged couple near a small seaside town. Which brings me to the first of the four points I offer as demonstration.…1. The Story. Joseph and Celice are zoologists in their later fifties. As the novel opens, they die together shortly after making love in a hollow in the dunes of Baritone Beach, the setting of their very first tryst three decades before. The book is well titled: their death is simply a fact. There is a crime, but no mystery; nobody has much hope of solving it. Instead, what Crace concentrates on is simply death itself, and what happens to the bodies in the six days between being killed and carried away. He does this in clinical detail which at first seems disgusting, but soon develops its own kind of poetry; this is death as it might be described by a scientist such as Joseph and Celice are themselves. But death is not Crace's only subject.…2. The Handling of Time. The novel juggles three time-frames simultaneously. One, hour by hour, day by day, is the post-mortem narrative that I mentioned above. Against this, Crace sets a second sequence, describing how the couple arrived at the beach, and moving backwards an hour at a time to Joseph waking Celice at daybreak to tell her that the day promises to be too good to waste indoors. For this is also a portrait of a marriage, a marriage held together by love and parenthood, though no longer by passion. A third timeline goes back thirty years to their first meeting, as graduate students on field study, and the unpredictable twists that led them into each other's arms. There are surprises in this story which will affect their later lives, including their last excursion. All in all, this is as much a book about love and companionship as about death. You could even argue that Crace's objective description of dying is the mechanism that allows him to paint an entirely clear-eyed portrait of marriage, totally free from sentiment, and to have it emerge as something both ordinary and beautiful.3. The Setting. Crace is a superb writer, and brilliantly evokes the duneland setting of Baritone Bay (so called for the occasional phenomenon of its singing sands) and its flora and fauna. But it has the quality of somewhere you almost know but can't quite place. I wondered about East Anglia, since Crace is English, but that doesn't quite fit. I thought the American Northeast, but no fit there either. I am not the first to note this; I came upon at least one blog entry raising the same questions. This story about biologists, for instance, is filled with plants of all kinds, from the manac shells that surface the paths to the lissom grass on which the couple bed down; look them up, though, and you will find they don't exist. The people in the town, too, seem part of the familiar Anglo world, but the drinks they consume, the drugs they take, the customs of their lives, all are slightly unfamiliar: cousinly, not fraternal. It is a superb balancing act, doubly so in that you are hardly aware of it at all. I suppose it is a kind of science fiction: the everyday world re-imagined through the mind of a scientist.4. The Language. Crace invents a linguistic world in order to be master of it, to hold it to the light, turn it on its head, hold it up to the scrutiny of eternity. That reversal of time, for instance. At the start of the book, he describes an old custom (I think invented) of "quivering," a kind of wake whose purpose is to shake the body and turn time backward:Their memories, exposed to the backward-running time of quiverings in which regrets became prospects, resentments became love, experience became hope, would up-end the hourglass of Celice and Joseph's life together and let their sands reverse.I am reminded of Martin Amis turning time backwards in Time's Arrow, although Crace has far greater subtlety. His object is not illuminate some particular event but to make a statement about life in the universe—an atheist's philosophy perhaps, but as consoling as anything offered by religion. So let me end with the passage when Joseph and Celice's bodies are finally separated:Joseph's body rolled towards the west. His wife went east. They came off the grass and on to cotton, then into wood-effect, then on to the flat bed of the sand jeep, along the beach and through the suburbs to the icy, sliding drawers of the city morgue, the coroner's far room, amongst the suicides. Their bodies had been swept away, at last, by wind, by time, by chance. The continents could start to drift again and there was space in heaven for the shooting stars.

  • Mon
    2019-04-20 20:25

    This is a book about ordinary people. This is painting by Van Gogh in 1888 titled Shoes The objects painted are the artist's own processions - they are well used, experienced and passive. Now, instead of a full analysis of Van Gogh's artistic merit (which can be found in any high school art essay), try to picture his thought when he was painting this pair of shoes. Were they chosen with particular intention? Not really, since he did another painting with a black pair of boots in the same manner. Why did he pick shoes of all possible objects? Sunflowers, you can argue, are well, aesthetic naturally. More importantly, these are his own shoes. Remember, Van Gogh was nobody at the time, this would have been even more insignificant then his portraits. The shoes were not accidentally put into the picture, they were its sole occupants. They had to be important. Ok, so maybe Van Gogh really loved his shoes, but why did he paint them so scrubby and worn? Notice how they are positioned slightly off the center and placed on domestic floorboard? This is a composition you would use if you want to degrade a subject and emphasise its feebleness.In a way Being Dead is similar to Shoes. The novel starts with two zoologists robbed and left dead on a beach. It is not about the violence of the act or the consequences of it. It is completely random and unremarkable, just like the rest of the cast. So why couldn't I put the book down? Van Gogh was one of the first to be so daring - he painted the emotional weight of the object rather than the actual quality of it. He managed to elevate a pair of shoes to a subject worthy of time and effort. Similarly, Crace achieves the same result. The characters and plot themselves are mundane, yet the way he illustrates the process of the cadavers' decay and the little details of their brief existence contribute to the charm of the story. Highly recommended.

  • ☕Laura
    2019-04-16 16:31

    I'm trying out something new since I haven't been very good about writing full reviews in a while.Ratings (1 to 5) Writing: 4.5Plot: 4Characters: 3Emotional impact: 4Overall rating: 4NotesFavorite character(s):Favorite quotes:Other notes: I found the technique of telling the sequence of events leading up to and including the murders in reverse order very interesting.

  • Julie Christine
    2019-03-30 16:28

    One of the curiosities of contemporary Western literature is why Jim Crace isn't more well known on this side of the Pond. On the other hand, during the two years I spent underneath the Equator in Aotearoa I was introduced to a great catalogue of writers who have made no more than a faint "ping" on the U.S. cultural radar. Even with the supposed borderless Nation of Internet, we Stateside-bound lot live in our own world. A big huge one, granted, so we can't catch everything. But we miss a lot. Don't get me started on the authors who create in languages other than English who will never be published or spoken of in the U.S. Mostly because I don't know who the vast majority of them are. Because I live here.Anyway. Being Dead is my introduction to Crace, and this after first hearing of him just two weeks ago. Yet this novel has heaps of awards (National Book Award, New York Times Book of the Year, Whitbread (now Costa) Book Awards short-list, American National Book Critics' Circle- see, America did take note!). Had I been paying attention in 2000 when it was making the rounds of "Best" lists, I surely would have sought out Crace and his brief, elegiac novel. I find the whole thing a bit confounding. Being Dead is highly stylized and so meta. It's full of symbolism and writerly tricks, like made up species and poets and legends and cultural practices (Hint: don't waste any time looking up anything unfamiliar on Wikipedia. You'll get a great big Crace "Gotcha!" Just read the damn book). Gobs of gorgeously pretentious writing - you get seduced by and swallowed up in its richness, like duck confit or Sauternes. It contrasts the minutiae of decay with abstract atheism. It's like watching a Terence Malick film and pretending that you know what you're supposed to be getting out of the deep themes and esoteric observances, but really, you just like the pretty pictures. I'm sounding cynical. It's not that I don't think this is an astonishingly composed novel. It is. Parts of it are breathtaking. But this reader enjoyed the central characters far more when they were dead than when they drew breath. Part and parcel of this conundrum is that I enjoy Crace's writing when he is alone with his dead characters than when he is their puppet-master as they interact in the world. Dead, our murdered protagonists Joseph and Celice are beautiful, humane, tender, multi-layered, Technicolor beings. Alive they are crashingly dull. As are their lives and their histories. Dead they are mysterious, life-giving, splanchnic and viscous. Alive they are vapid. I wouldn't venture to recommend this to anyone, because I don't want to be responsible for keeping someone up at night as they listen to their bodies die. Or because I don't want the sound of someone throwing this book across the room to wake me up. I'm very glad to have read it. I will seek out other novels by Jim Crace. But I won't pretend to like them.

  • Kirstie
    2019-03-29 18:25

    I want to say this novel is morbid but that's not entirely true. Instead, peculiar would be a more fitting word. First, it contains the longest description of decomposing bodies and the organisms that profit from it that I've ever read. It recalled the detailed and forever memorable rotting of Miss Havisham's neglected wedding feast only, you know, with human corpses.Second, we start out with this married couple in midlife being dead and go backwards. We learn enough about these two zoologists-what they were like when they were young, how they met and became closer and everything inbetween. By the end of the book, we know infinitely more than we'd ever thought to want to know about the two that were killed off beginning on page 1. And yet, these are the main protagonists of the book and the more that you read, the more that you wish you could escape the inevitable fact that these two are not going to have any moments together anymore. It's as if being dead redeems them as characters because you grow attached and you even love them a little. All the while, the tragedy is accentuated. And in these 200 pages that escape, you find yourself slowly realizing ad you grow to love them that it might, in fact, be because they are no more. If they were alive, surely they would not be as interesting or as (ironically) vivid as they are now. They are preserved in a sense of tragedy that makes them intriguing. Third, it's much less predictable than most fiction on this topic. Our two protagonists are dead from the start because of a rather brutal murder but instead of focusing on who did it and why, Crace instead tells us their story. In a way, that makes them less like victims and more like modern British tragic heroes. It's also what makes the story more interesting than a whodunnit or a why did it happen sort of novel. There's enough already written like that and not as many with this sort of angle.

  • Meg Ingram
    2019-04-14 22:10

    I absolutely LOVED this book. It was recommended to me by my good friend, Sarah, who warned me that it was a bit morbid. It is, but in a scientific and factual way. It's about what happens after you die...literally. As a society, we are so intent on covering death up, hiding from it, avoiding it, and ultimately ignoring the fact that it is inevitable. Granted, none of us want to meet our end in the manner that the couple in this book did (attacked, robbed, and left for dead during a romantic picnic on the beach). But the way Jim Grace describes the process of thier death and the effect it has on their estranged daughter is actually remarkably graceful, peaceful, even beautiful. A very interesting nothing I've ever read before.

  • Cecily
    2019-04-01 21:27

    This opens with a grisly murder in a beautiful spot and such counterpoints are the nature of the story and its telling. One thread of chapters starts near the “end” of the story and goes back (initially, but then forwards too), while the other thread starts many years earlier and only goes forward, building the expectation of the two threads meeting at the end of the book. It describes death and decay in detached detail in a way that is simultaneously disgusting and beautiful; passages are searingly poetic. It needs the beauty, because in may ways it is a painfully empty story, full of loss, misunderstanding, distance, waste and pointlessness. But it’s actually rather a good book.

  • Dan Rivas
    2019-04-24 17:13

    What I learned from this book: do not dieI liked "Being Dead" very much, especially the form of the novel, the deft way Crace moves us between the moments after Celice and Joseph are murdered, the events that preceded their deaths, and the couple's meeting thirty years prior.However, I often found myself annoyed with the book, the way it seems to try so hard a being pretty and grotesque at the same time. Many passages seemed overwrought, too heavy to convey their own weight, let alone the narrative.The book also seemed preachy on the subject of human meanings applied to "natural" death. Throughout the novel Crace insists that nature is not sentimental and does not care whether events or actions are just or appropriate or meaningful. While I am inclined to agree with him and am similarly annoyed by writers who try so hard to imbue every tree or trick of light or the movement of earth with cosmic meaning, but often the book feels as though it were trying to argue against those writers and falls at times into pedantry. And, of course, Crace falls into the trap of personifying and animating the very forces he is saying are not purposeful and not meaningful.What saves "Being Dead," and in fact makes it an outstanding work of fiction, is Crace's ability to convey with economy the multiplicity of his character's lives, the many reasons and understandings that explain who they are and why they became the person before you. And I think Crace is right to choose death as the moment to convey so many complexities. I liked discovering, as their daughter does when she learns that they are dead, how the lives of these characters, "which had seemed hidden and pale...needed only death's bright torch to bring the passion and the colour out" (180).

  • Kate
    2019-03-25 17:18

    If only Jim Crace had narrowed his ambitions to a short story about decomposing bodies. It's really the tale of putrefaction that is well-told here, not at all that of the lives the decaying bodies have left behind, which smacks overpoweringly of contrivance.Crace's characters, and I noticed this in Genesis as well, are unavoidably false. The author has an odd way of saying "he is the type" - which should be the signal for "person you can relate to" - and then inventing a type you have never heard of. Another problem is that everyone imagines he knows the sort of person he is, and the sort of person he is dealing with.It's also distracting that Crace writes about sex like he's never had sex. And I had to cover my eyes while the woman masturbated; I wondered if he'd even met a woman before.I found his musings overwrought and pretentious; another reason he should have stuck to the most gripping material, the story of two dead bodies lying on the beach. Those bits were fascinating and, for the most part, wonderfully written. I wish the author had woven a better context around the decidedly interesting and original premise.

  • Irene
    2019-04-25 19:36

    How do you rate a book when you recognize the literary quality of the prose but can’t connect with the story? This book opens with the murder of a middle aged couple, both zoologists, as they picnic on a secluded beach. Descriptions of the decaying corpses in poetic language are interspersed with moments from the couple’s relationship and the events leading to the discovery of their bodies. Whereas the natural process of decay and the aging bodies are portrayed with prose so gorgeous it seems to render the grotesque as beautiful, the ordinary lives of intelligent, successful scientists, an intact middle-class family, and the range of ordinary people who are involved in identifying the bodies are depicted as bordering on the miserable. I am not sure what Crace was hoping to communicate in this juxtaposition, but it made me somewhat depressed. In the end, it does not matter what we accomplish, who we love, how we live, we all end up as worm dinner, and that is the best part of our existence.

  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-04-04 15:26

    Very original take on death and nature. Crace's books (at least those that I've read) are always different, thought provoking, and, a feature I particularly love, offer a wonderful anecdote to the over-researched Wikipedia-regurgitation that bedevils many novels. Crace's epigraph to the novel is a poem from Sherwen Steven, and within a few pages he has introduced us to the mourning practice of "quivering", to Mondazy's Fish, a traditional analogy for death, and to the sprayhopper, a distant beach-dwelling marine relative of the cricket, all key to the story. All very plausible - and all completely invented by Crace (even the poet), which is as it should be in fiction.

  • minnie
    2019-04-19 15:33

    Read this over a long weekend break, and was left haunted by it. Joseph the Husband dies a short while after Celice after they have been budgeoned on a secluded beach while having a picnic.He dies with his hand on his wifes leg,and it is only moved when 6 days later the police have to force the bodies into temporary coffins. That little detail has stayed in my mind since reading this beautiful book about nature and death but also about marriage and the little routines and conflicts in married life. I loved this book but also found it depressing as it made me think of death for longer than is healthy.

  • Allie Riley
    2019-03-31 23:26

    Fascinating and very poetically written exploration of the nature of death through the story of the murders of Celice and Joseph.

  • Jenn
    2019-04-21 20:08

    I loved how this went back and forth between the distant past, the not so distant past and the present. It was interesting to see how the married couple met, grew together, dealt with tragedy and how they met their untimely death. Their daughter was another story. She was horrible in how she dealt with...well...everything. A very dislikable person treating every male like a doormat.

  • Madeleine
    2019-04-02 16:36

    This is such a gracefully, unflinchingly graphic tale following two main paths. The death of a middle-aged married couple -- which is told initially in reverse from the moment of their murder before it hurtles through the present, detailing the bodies' six days of exposure, discovery, and clinically detached removal and processing (which plays well against their ever-evolving daughter's reactions) -- collides with the simultaneously celebratory and tragic story of how the two first met.The character development (mostly approached in retrospect) makes for one of the richest cast of literary players I've seen in a while. Celice's awkward and naively confident blossoming into a ripe young lady clashes well with the more reserved woman she became in her 50s, admitting that she has never been fully satisfied in her marriage; the small gestures of touching affection she allows her husband, however, speak volumes about her capacity for love. Joseph's nearly 30 years of tender loyalty -- from the first gesture of shyly calculated courtship to his dying show of devotion -- contrasts achingly with his initial coldness. It is their conflicted daughter who adds just enough raw humanity to the plot after the two bodies have been discovered. At 196 pages, it almost seems natural to say that I could have happily lapped up 100 more (this is the first time since reading "The Gunslinger" that I've started and finished a book on the same day), especially since the pacing of the plot and progression of the story makes the novel so wonderfully compelling.Mr. Crace's gift for both language and storytelling added to the morbidly voyeuristic pleasure of this book. As bleak as the story is, it does capture the beauty of a love that has had decades of lessons in learning how to suit both partners. The small splashes of careful detail, the finely constructed pace at which the plot unravels and spins, the stunning language.... it all made for a delightfully jarring contrast to the perceptively ugly (though wholly natural and inevitable) act of dying.When the book comes to a close with Celice and Joseph's killer nowhere to be found, it's really not that important. And that's okay. C'mon, it takes a formidable writing talent to leave a murder unsolved without leaving the audience unsatisfied. But also, that's not really the aim of the narrative because this book isn't about solving a murder: It's about the six days "of grace" Celice and Joseph spend together as nature goes to work indiscriminately returning two dead things to the earth and its elements.

  • Michael
    2019-04-03 19:16

    This book is pure dreck. A litany of emotional and psychological generalizations. Its poetic interludes on life, death, love, science and God (or lack there of) are sophomoric and saccharine. It's what I would call a dumbshow of literary pap and sophistry. On top of that, it's bad writing:"They are the dark co-ordinates of one straight line. Grief is death eroticized. And sex is only shuffling off this mortal coil before its time to plummet to the post-coital afterlife. Celice's haste to rush out of the house and take command of her new love so early in the morning was bound to set the flame. That is a scientific view." pg 140Really? Thank you Shakespeare. What's next, the babbling brook? Almost."Their three missing colleagues would be where they always were by that time in the morning, down on the coast pursuing doctorates, up to their knees in flame-consuming sea" pg 111Is this a parody?"Here was their first view of the coast; the wine-deep, sad, narcotic sea." pg 84This by the way, is one of several abused semicolons, but the real crime is that turd posing as poetry squirting out the rump-hole of the sentence. Alas, this book was a New York Times Editors' choice of the year, and, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner in fiction. I don't get it. I really just don't get it. Did they read the book? I read the reviews and it seems that I read a different book.

  • Grady
    2019-04-13 21:10

    A gleamingly honest and original vantage of life and death"Being Dead" somehow illuminates Being Alive. Jim Crace has given us a thoroughly engrossing, touching, spirit-expanding eulogy on the presence of death as a part of life. Early in this extraordinary little book he states "It's only those who glimpse the awful, endless corridor of death, too gross to contemplate, that need to lose themselves in love or art." He then proceeds to light that corridor for our examination, cell by decomposing cell, of the thing we try the hardest to avoid: death. This is not a macabre book, a sensationalist view of things morbid: with great grace and love the author invites us to explore the transcience of our corporal time on earth and in doing so he encourages the celebration of all things that life could be. If his characters appear as ordinary beings (if ordinary means two people who have explored the highs and lows of love, of procreation, of guilt, of grief, of dissappointment, of intimacy with the earth as only a zoologist can understand), then he has managed to touch us all, allowing us to identify with the inevitable confrontation with dying. This is a brilliantly conceived and written book- one of the most uniquely satisfying I have read. This is a map of our lives, our mortality, our spiritual quest untended/aborted. Food for thought and for sharing and for treasuring.Grady Harp

  • Stephen Durrant
    2019-04-12 20:15

    The fact that Jim Crace's "Harvest" is on the short-list for this year's Booker Prize reminded me that I had not yet read his earlier, highly praised "Being Dead," even though my daughter had recommended it to me a few years back (a daughter who reads much more widely than her father). I have now read it and am eager to move on to "Harvest." Crace writes in a style that is unabashedly crafted, poetic and astoundingly rich--the type of style one encounters more frequently in a British than an American writer. "Being Dead" deserves to be read for its language alone. But then there is the subject matter: a brutal double murder, the slow decay of bodies hidden between dunes along the sea, a movement back in time that lets us know how those who were murdered came to be there on that fateful day, and the gradual realization on the part of the living that two people are missing. All this weaves together in an extraordinary way and becomes, among other things, a powerful meditation on death. It is, I suppose, the juxtaposition of a sometimes harsh theme with such controlled but luscious language that makes this book so unusual. This is a book I will read again . . . one of the few books I have read recently that inspire, perhaps require, a second reading.

  • Konstantin
    2019-04-11 18:13

    [rating = A]One of my: Best Books of the Year (for 2015)A very intense novel about the prosaic facts of death. A new stance on how death is just death and nothing frilly about it. The couple is on the shore where they first met; dead and decaying like the nature about them. The novel explores the relationship between two people, between the bonds that link them and the differences that also connect them. It is a stirring work that takes no fluff of the idea of heaven; one should live in the now because there may be a day when you're bumped-off. The story goes from the murder to the meeting of the twosome to their daughter's voyage to find them. A very precise and wonderful little book.

  • Giskin
    2019-03-26 21:33

    This book has divided readers, but I think it is extraordinary. It mixes descriptions of the decaying bodies with the story of a relationship. Working scientists are underrepresented in literary fiction and this aspect is also well covered. I'm not sure I would recommend it wholeheartedly to students, but people with an interest in pathology will probably relish it.

  • Ayelet Waldman
    2019-04-03 19:33

    I really didn't want to like this book, as the author beat my husband out for the National Book Critic's Circle Award, but it's impossible not to. He's a remarkable writer, and this is a haunting book. It's about a couple of corpses decomposing on a beach, but don't let that dissuade you.

  • Joy Lane
    2019-04-16 23:17

    One of my very favorite books and author. storytelling at its best!

  • Lee
    2019-04-15 15:24

    Lissom grass! Sandhoppers! What more needs to be said.

  • Steven Warren
    2019-04-19 19:37

    A really creepy look at the murder of an old couple that juxtaposes their decay with the search for their bodies. Sounds a lot grosser than it is, but a must read.

  • Peter Kerry Powers
    2019-03-26 15:22

    An astonishing good and accomplished book, at once moving and in its own way comic, if a story about the death of lovers can be comic. Crace makes of murder a natural fact, and I think his rendering of the peculiar combination of distance and intimacy that is family life, of knowing and unknowing, is more accurate than anything I've read recently. The mundane and domestic life of our everyday becomes cosmic by its being so much like the washing of the tides, the scavenging of crabs, the decay of bodies, the resurrection of withered grass. Crace makes poetry of data, and makes science weep. I wish I hadn't left the book on my shelf unread these many years.

  • Victoria Atkins
    2019-04-23 18:18

    What an incredible book. Short as it is, I was moved deeply several times throughout. An unflinching and beautiful meditation on life, love, death, decay, and our place in the natural order. I will come back to this book many times, I already know it.

  • Isabelle
    2019-04-13 19:27