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Arcadia [Kindle Edition]

Jim Crace
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.68 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Victor, an eighty-year-old multimillionaire, surveys his empire from the remoteness of his cloud-capped penthouse. Expensively insulated from the outside world, he nonetheless finds that memories of his impoverished childhood will not be kept so easily at bay. Focusing on the one area of vitality and chaos that remains in the streets below him, he formulates a plan to leave a mark on the city – one as indelible and disruptive as the mark the city left on him.

Victor, an eighty-year-old multimillionaire, surveys his empire from the remoteness of his cloud-capped penthouse. Expensively insulated from the outside world, he nonetheless finds that memories of his impoverished childhood will not be kept so easily at bay. Focusing on the one area of vitality and chaos that remains in the streets below him, he formulates a plan to leave a mark on the city – one as indelible and disruptive as the mark the city left on him.


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Review

"A hugely gifted, utterly original writer. . . . Visit Craceland now." -- "The Independent" (UK) "Unquestionably one of the most inventive novelists writing in English today." -- "Newsday" "A deeply satisfying read, in which each well-turned phrase resounds in every finely tuned sentence." -- "The Mail on Sunday" (UK) "A celebration of the modern city. . . . in such vivid prose that you can almost see the bloom on the peaches, taste the sun-ripened oranges and smell the coffee at the market traders' stalls." -- "The Sunday Times" (UK) "One of the most beautifully written books in years." -- "The Sunday Telegraph" (UK) "From the Trade Paperback edition."

Book Description

A meditation on city life and how to negotiate it, and the hypnotic story of one man’s meteoric rise.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 432 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GK22RA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,165 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read 15 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully written. The story is engaging in its own right and I was fascinated and engaged from the beginning. However, the real joy is the quality of the writing. Jim Crace is an extraordinary stylist and he writes perfectly balanced, rhythmical sentences loaded with evocative description. It's a little like reading a prose poem, but the novel keeps its pace and storyline running too. I've rarely enjoyed a novel this much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once read, never forgotten. 6 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book about 15 years ago but it has haunted me (in a very good way) ever since - as have Jim Crace's other novels 'Quarantine' and 'Being Dead'. As the daughter of a shopkeeper, the description of this vertiginous multicoloured palace of stuff chimed very loudly and filled my imagination. It's such an original work and so perfectly written, you can only boggle at such minds as his... Please read it, you won't regret a second.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hint of Gormenghast 28 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a gothic tale, but a detailed account of the history of a city and some key people living in it. I bought it as a cheaper alternative to the Booker prize favourite (and non-winner) this year. Enjoyed it greatly and will read more of Mr Crace. Just beautifully written and such vivid images.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Richly told tale 16 Dec. 2014
By Archy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is certainly a richly described tale, and for that it deserves four stars. But I found it a curiously cool read. Part of the problem is that it's unclear who or what is the book's main subject. Is it, as the blurb says, the story of eighty-year-old millionaire Victor, who surveys his kingdom and determines to leave his mark on it. The part that describes Victor's childhood is easily the most enjoyable part of the book - the only section where I cared about the characters.

Or is it the story of Rook, the market boy who's betrayed his roots to become Victor's paid assistant, but who still accepts payment from his erstwhile friends and colleagues in exchange for Victor's attention? Certainly Rook is a Steerpike type of character, and there's an element of Gormenghast about the market. But Rook isn't really wicked enough to be an anti-hero.

Or is the story of Arcadia itself, described by a nameless narrator in the final, rather redundant, chapter. Or the story of the traders who struggle through trying to make a living. Or Anna, Rook's lover and co-conspirator? It's a book rather without focus, and aside from the part about Victor's childhood - we never learn how he went from weak orphan to multi-millionaire - I couldn't get that involved in it. But still, four stars for the richness of its style.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read 14 Jan. 2014
By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I was told that Jim Crace was on a train journey and saw a fellow passenger reading one of his books. He asked him what he thought of the book without revealing that he was the author. The fellow passenger told him he thought it rubbish. What would I say about this book if Jim Crace were to ask me what I think?

The first thing I would love to know is which city did Jim Crace have in mind when he wrote about the city in Arcadia. I know that he has a connection with Birmingham, where he (and I too) was a student and where he still lives. He has said that the redevelopment of Birmingham in the late 80s early 90s provided some background but that readers from cities as disparate as Detroit and Singapore have recognised their own cities in the events described in the book. It stands very much as any and all cities.

The book concerns an open market in the city in which one man, Victor, an 80 year old millionaire who has made his fortune from the lowliest depth as the child of a beggar to being the owner of the entire market. How he did it is not explained but we see him as an old man planning to tear down the old market and build a brand new multi storey air conditioned market as a lasting memorial to his achievements. However, in this process something gets lost.

I don't really use markets anymore, preferring to buy my goods in supermarkets. I can see that something is being lost in this transformation of food shopping and reading this book made me think back to my childhood when we did go to individual market stalls to purchase our fruit and vegetables and meats.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different and well written book 30 Mar. 2013
By Oldie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is excellent and different. Well written and convincing in its creation of its own world. Arcadia is a huge and ancient market. Its owner and former street child, Victor concieves a plan to change and "improve" the market. The contrast between the protected world of Victor now a multimillionaire insulated by his wealth and age and the vibrancy of the market is striking. The book deals with the fall of Rooke Victor's assistant and with the plan to create a new market . It is full of incident and colour. The conflicts are brilliant and the feeling tat you are in a coherent world that is very similar but not ours stunning. Read it it is good.
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