ne of the truly transcendent moments (in more ways than one) in Jim Crace’s ” Quarantine,” his Whitbread Prize-winning novel about Christ’s Being Dead: A Novel [Jim Crace] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a. Editorial Reviews. Review. Penzler Pick, June It begins with a murder. Being Dead: A Novel – Kindle edition by Jim Crace. Download it.

Author: Vokinos Fenrimuro
Country: Myanmar
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Love
Published (Last): 7 March 2006
Pages: 68
PDF File Size: 18.53 Mb
ePub File Size: 16.25 Mb
ISBN: 958-8-26253-244-1
Downloads: 80609
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Mikar

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again.

Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Being Dead by Jim Crace. Being Dead by Jim Crace. Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Celice and Joseph, in their mids and married for more than 30 years, are returning to the seacoast where they met as students.

Instead, they are battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand crabs, flies, and gulls.

Yet there remains something touching about the scene, with Joseph’s hand curving lightly around his wife’s leg, “quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet. For while his hand was touching her, curved round her shin, the couple seemed to have achieved that peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder.

Anyone who found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that something of their love had survived the death of cells.

The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still a man and wife, quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet. Alternating chapters move back in time from the murder in hourly and two-hourly increments. As the narrative moves backward, we see Celice deaad Joseph make the small decisions about their jlm that will lead them inexorably towards their own deaths.

In other chapters the narrative moves forward. Celice and Joseph are on vacation and nobody misses them until they do not return. Thus, it is six days before their bodies are found. Crace describes in minute detail their gradual return to the land with the help of crabs, birds, and the numerous insects that attack the body and gently and not so gently prepare it for the dust-to-dust phase of death. Paperbackpages.

To see what your deas thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Being Deadplease sign up. Lists with This Book.

Sep 07, Tyler rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Recommended to Tyler by: National Book Critics Circle Award. Craft and good writing make this bekng 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 Craft and good writing make this book a hit with many readers.


One moves the couple back in time from the occasion ded their deaths; the next parallels that with beng 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 beinb after their deaths, juxtaposing untended corpses with their living antecedents. So far so good.

Being Dead

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. 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 Shutin 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 bieng 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. 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. This couple expresses perfectly the impersonal quality the author seeks.

Being Dead by Jim Crace

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 cracr baby is born dying, we read. Life is fragile, jkm, 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 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.

Quivering | Books | The Guardian

Its writing really deac 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 deaf the precise contents that flesh out the story. Ceace with those two exceptions, I do not recommend this book. View all 7 comments. Mar 14, Maciek rated it it was ok Shelves: I was really looking forward to reading Being Dead – I dea 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 beig 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 I was really looking forward to reading Being Dead – I read a review mentioning it somewhere, and was intrigued ever since.

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.

Dsad they are disturbed in an act of intimacy by a stranger who kills them both and cracf 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: This is an interesting juxtaposition, but the book never evolves dezd beyond it – there is little to make us care for Joseph and Celice, both in life and death, and the whole book ends up cracd 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. View all 15 comments. May 17, Roger Brunyate rated it it was amazing Shelves: Life Cycle This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read, vying with D. 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: Which brings me to the first of the four points I offer as demonstration. Joseph and Celice are zoologists in their later fifties. As the novel opens, they die together shortly after making love rcace a hollow dewd the dunes of Baritone Beach, the setting of their very first tryst three decades before.

The book is well titled: 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.

The Handling of Time. The novel juggles three time-frames simultaneously. One, hour by hour, day by day, is the post-mortem narrative that Cracf mentioned above.