Crace, Jim Being Dead

ISBN 13: 9780140239751

Being Dead

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9780140239751: Being Dead

Their bodies had expired, but anyone could tell - just look at them - that Joseph and Celice were still devoted. 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 that found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that there was something of their love that had survived the death of cells. The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still man and wife, quitely resting; dead, but not departed yet.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Jim Crace is the author of five novels, most recently QUARANTINE which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Prize. He is also a past winner of the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the E.M.Forster Award and the Guardian Fiction Award.

Jim Crace lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.

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