Harvest

Harvest WINNER INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDOn 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 land

  • Title: Harvest
  • Author: Jim Crace
  • ISBN: 9780385520775
  • Page: 398
  • Format: Hardcover
  • WINNER INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDOn 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 oWINNER INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDOn 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 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.

    One thought on “Harvest”

    1. I read one book of Jim Crace, the Pesthouse, a gloomy but intriguing book. This one, Harvest, I had on my wishlist when I read the outline of the story. Decided to buy the hardcover even, after waiting for some time for the paperback in Europe. A weird, absurdistic story, there are similarities to the Pesthouse. Yes, you can read it as an allegory or fable and make a comparison to current society and how people can turn into their worst behaviour. you can also read it as just the story of a vill [...]

    2. Perhaps the most evocative and realistic depiction of the Enclosure Act and it's effect on the labouring country classes that you will ever read. The narrator, an outsider in the village in which he lives, reports the terrifying ordeal of the villagers as their common land is parceled up and they are driven from the hamlet. Add a dash of Witchfinder General, a soupcon of moral guilt (although this novel seemed preoccupied with sins of ommission rather than the more obvious sins of commission) an [...]

    3. This book seemed right up my street. I enjoy historical fiction and here the story of a village facing sudden new threats - enclosure of the land, which threatens their whole way of life, the arrival of strangers, both poor and powerless and wealthy and powerful, and the whisper of witchery - sounds extremely promising. The writing is, at its best, plain, poetic and beautiful. It should have been great.It actually starts very well - the writing is at its best here. It is easy to read. The histor [...]

    4. Jim Crace’s HARVEST reads like a simple moral fable of a tiny and remote medieval English village, destroyed externally and internally by the conversion of farms into sheep pastures, but wait! There is far more to it than meets the eye.Mr. Crace is particularly interested in pairings: everything comes in twos, right from the opening pages Two signals of smoke rise up: one signaling the arrival of new neighbors who are announcing their right to stay…the second, a blaze that indicates the mast [...]

    5. BrilliantA tale with the cold horrific inevitability of a tsunami bearing down on tiny human figures whose ineffectual scrabblings move at the slow pace of nightmare. Timeless, mythical drama. An Olympian god, in a mood of resentful restlessness, drops havoc down into an English village in the form of three strangers. What ensues is the collapse of everything that held that village together, a dissolving of morals, customs, homes and families on a monumental scale. Breathtaking.

    6. Halfway through this novel it dawned on me that this could be interpreted as a deeply allegorical story (I'm slow on the uptake). Despite being set in olde England, when witchery and pillorys were believed in (when convenient), it could be a story of politics and class in America today. Behaviours don't change over the centuries - every generation starts afresh and tries to figure it out on their own. The one thing we are remarkably adept at is rationalising away our moral shortcomings--a skill [...]

    7. All stylistically very well executed as a picture of a moment in history – date unspecific. It brings the ‘enclosures’ movement in UK history to life, but I'm not sure what it tells me today. It's like looking at a Jean Francois Millet painting in 2013: evocative, rustic, but now what? And I really struggled to buy into many of the novel's propositions. First of all, the protagonist and narrator: a curious choice. He's got village rap down to a tee, I'll give him that. Walter is not a loca [...]

    8. This is an easy book to appreciate and a difficult book to love. It is really excellent in terms of setting a scene and creating a sense of atmosphere. Broadly, it's a story about a small English village - date unprovided, though it seems likely sometime in the 17th century - that's teetering on the verge of being thrust into modernity, as the arrival of a new landowner and the English enclosure acts mean that their land, which grew wheat and barley for countless generations, is about to be raze [...]

    9. “What starts with fire will end with fire, I’ve heard it said.”And so starts and ends ‘Harvest’, Jim Crace’s latest novel (and supposedly his last, as he will be retiring from writing). The fire in ‘Harvest’ is not the kind that has sky reaching blazing flames. It reminded me more of dying embers, gently fizzling out.During our book club discussion it became apparent that the book touches on a multitude of themes and subjects but it all seemed rather understated. It was as if Cra [...]

    10. In much the same way The Crucible is an allegory of McCarthyism, this novel too is a political allegory: mainly, of isolationism and the effects of panic due to a perceived threat.The blurb on the inner flap of the book posits that this idyll is unraveling due to economic progress; and, yes, there is that, but it is the confrontation of the 'immigrants' by the community that comes first and shows the easy moral collapse after a rush to judgment so 'their own' will not get in trouble.It's told fr [...]

    11. What I loved about this book was the atmosphere, the overwhelming sense of foreboding and isolation, of being surrounded by slightly menacing nature (flesh eating pigs, downpours) and a sense of primordial earthy power. And being utterly alone, at the mercy of whatever happens there. I read the last sections breathless, page turning and heart pounding - sadly, the plot did not fulfill the rich sense of wrongness and dread built up by the atmosphere.I also liked the fable-like timelessness. At on [...]

    12. O dia chegou ao fim e a luz foi apagada. Avanço a custo pela noite final sem ninguém para entrelaçar a sua mão molhada na minha. E sem ninguém para me tirar o chapéu, como a nossa tradição manda que se faça, quando, por causa do folhelho e da humidade, não consigo evitar um espirro, uma bênção não intencional ao campo. Mas mentiria se dissesse que me sinto tão escuro e tão sombrio como as nuvens. Acho que estou entusiasmado, de certa forma estranha. O campo está lavrado. A semen [...]

    13. Had a very hard time rating this book. The writing is outstanding, time and place one can imagine what living here is like. and an unreliable narrator. The tone is foreboding, a little like children of the corn, but much better prose. My problem is partly the pacing, which moves so slowly, also one can only read so much about grain harvest, chaff and pigs also I am not sure I liked the ending. Anyway very atmospheric, story is good once it gets going and I loved the prose.

    14. [4.5] Full of gorgeous writing about the landscape and a semi-mythical past. The entire book takes place in one week at harvest-time, so this and the next month or so is the perfect season to read it. (Rather a lot of Booker books, from this and earlier years, are set in the summer, I've noticed.)What sky is blue is more thinly so this afternoon. The woodland canopies, viewed from this sloping field, are sere or just a little pinched with rust, the first signs of the approaching slumber of the t [...]

    15. Harvest is a poetic, beautiful read. This book is dense with alluring prose sprinkled with very little dialogue. It feels like a much longer read that it really is, and I can't say it's an easy read, but it is definitely gorgeous.The storyline is a relatively simple one: The calm order of a remote, pre-industrial English village and the estate upon which it depends is disrupted by a number of events, including the arrival of four mysterious strangers who come into conflict with the villagers. Th [...]

    16. A story set in bygone days of a English village, the characters in this story go through hard times some involving that of arson and death.The story is told with some great prose with metaphors and careful sentencing. I felt a great sense of place and time in this story which is slow paced and successfully kept me reading on . A memorable story to be consumed in a few readings."As I've said, we are not a hurtful people. We are, though, fearful, proud and dutiful. We do what must be done.""But, a [...]

    17. The story has a symbolic setting: a peasant village in deep country evocative of 15th-16th Century England. The events of the work take place over one week which includes the harvest festival.Incredibly evocative book – the writing drips with the atmosphere of Harvest, of the rhythm of seasons and the timelessness of the villagers’ life, of the land and nature as an unceasing master. Key themes are: clearly the Enclosure and the abrupt change it engendered in an almost ageless bucolic lifest [...]

    18. Jim Crace goes out in his “last” novel showing that he is the great master of rhythm in English prose. Just reading the novel for this is enough to make it a great reading experience. Add to that the protagonist’s singular (and calmly repulsive) first-person voice and the violent story of a world on the cusp of radical change, and you have a truly great novel. And an important one, considering that we too are on the cusp of a period of radical change, and most of us, like the narrator, are [...]

    19. A group of strangers arrive in the woodland borders and put up a make-shift camp. That same night a manor house is set on fire. Following that the harvest is blackened by smoke, the strangers are cruelly punished and there is suspicion of witchcraft afoot. Harvest tells the story of the economic progress following the Enclosure Acts that disrupted the pastoral paradise of a small remote English village.Jim Crave uses the tragedies, pillaging and other disruptions in an effort to evoke the effect [...]

    20. I don't know what I expected when I checked out this book. I had read one of his previous novels The Pesthouse which was dystopian fiction. I guess that I thought this would go along those lines. Then I started reading and at first didn't really understand what was going on with the story. Crace never comes out and tells the reader you are here and this is when the story is happening. He simply tells the story.I quickly became engrossed in the novel. It's about a small village some time before t [...]

    21. Possibly Crace's best novel since 'Quarantine'. It's not a long novel, but it's definitely not a quick read. Every word is carefully placed. This is lyric writing by a master storyteller in full control of his craft and the story he tells is dense with allegory and archetypes. (I had to reread entire paragraphs as I went along in order to absorb a lot of it.) If I'm making this sound like the sort of novel you had to read for a school assignment, it is. But It also happens to be a very compellin [...]

    22. Ik ben een fan van screenshots. Als er op mijn computerscherm een boek/blog/film/link langskomt die mij aanspreekt, maak ik er een screenshot van. Dat beeld berg ik op in de map Ja. Die map is duidelijk positief ingesteld. Wat in die map verdwijnt, moet ik op een mooie dag beter bekijken.Wat goed begint, eindigt niet altijd in een hoera-stemming. Zo heb ik het omslag van ‘Oogst’ gescreenshot nadat ik de korte inhoud van het boek gelezen had, en op het net ontdekt had dat ik auteur Jim Crace [...]

    23. The story is set in a remote village, who knows where, in a period who knows when, with people thrown together in family groups with family loyalties the critical factor, under the benign guidance of Mr Kent who married the daughter of the late squire. The village works the land for Mr Kent until it transpire that Mrs Kent died without a son which means the land reverts to a male cousin. Mr. Jordan and his henchmen arrive after buildings have been burned by local lads but the blame is placed on [...]

    24. A historical novel set in England. The time and place are unspecified, but it is the pre-industrial era, and a remote village, "two days by post horse, three days by chariot, before you find a market square". This lack of a wider context takes us within the world view of the inbred villagers, who live as their ancestors have always done, and whose horizons extend no further than their parish boundaries. Parents beat their children's heads against the parish boundary stones, so the children will [...]

    25. Well this is a novel and a half, and one I was not expecting to be so emotionally packed or so utterly gripping. It starts with the simple introduction of a harvest in a small village in rural England, before the Enclosure Act, where everyone not only knew everyone else but were related to them in some way. Our narrator, Walter Thirsk, is an outsider but who has become accepted as part of the village (to a certain degree anyway). But then the village is turned upside down as three strangers arri [...]

    26. As is the case with many of Crace's story lines, it's a relatively simple one: The placid order of a remote, pre-industrial English village and the estate upon which it depends, is disrupted by a number of events that include three mysterious squatters who come into conflict with both the 60 people who call the village home, and the ruling authorities of the estate. The estate's precarious equilibrium is also threatened by a new "order" imposed by a new owner, whose entrance is seemingly a resul [...]

    27. Only a writer with a poetic frame of mind could pull off such a book as this. One comes away from this story with such an ethereal feeling; I'm reminded of Malouf's An Imaginary Life which also lacks that feeling of permanence or substance. Instead one feels one has encountered smoke - something that looks like a substantial object, but over time fades into nothing.Having written this, the plot and the horror and destruction of a community is anything but ethereal! Set around the time of the Inc [...]

    28. Jim Crace has made me understand, at a personal level, what it must have been like for the villagers facing enclosures, being driven out of their homes to make way for much more profitable sheep. This is the astonishing story of the last harvest of a group of villagers, who do not even know that they are facing impending disaster, until it is too late. It is also the tale of how a random act of idiocy has far-reaching and unintended consequences. It is a parable for our times.

    29. I often find myself beginning a review by stating where and when the novel is set. With Harvest I can't do that, because we aren't told. All we know is that it's a small rural community where for generations the people who live there have worked on the land, ploughing, planting and harvesting. This is the way of life they have always known and this is how they have always supported themselves and their families.Things begin to change when a 'chart-maker' whom the villagers refer to as Mr Quill a [...]

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