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The Pesthouse [Paperback]

Jim Crace
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

12 Sep 2013
A devastated America exists in an imagined future. Its technologies are forgotten, its communities have splintered and its refugees, reversing the course of history, travel eastwards in search of safety and a new start. Among them are Franklin and Margaret, young, bereft, forced together by circumstance; but finding that love, courage and determination can endure even as a country breaks slowly apart.

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The Pesthouse + The Testament of Mary + Harvest
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (12 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447250346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447250340
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Evoking the cracked terrain of a depleted America, Crace proves himself a fine stylist, sensitive to the cadence of every sentence’ Financial Times

‘Gripping, exciting and oddly romantic’ Daily Mail

‘Entirely compelling. The story is a gripping, harrowing adventure tale and Crace’s language is extraordinary . . . The Pesthouse resonates like an unresolved chord’ New Statesman

‘Remarkably imaginative . . . a moving, lyrical novel’ Daily Telegraph

‘Witty, graceful and haunting . . . Crace writes with an oddly lyrical lightness’ New York Times

About the Author

Jim Crace is the prize-winning author of eleven books, including Continent (winner of the 1986 Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize), Quarantine (winner of the 1998 Whitbread Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Being Dead (winner of the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives in Birmingham.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stodgy and directionless 28 Mar 2014
It is very difficult to read "The Pesthouse" without drawing comparisons with Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" - either the book or the film version. McCarthy's spare, haunting approach to an American apocalypse and nightmare vision of the future almost sets the template for this type of fiction, and if you have read that first and then come to Jim Crace's take on things, you may find The Pesthouse wanting for something.

Crace constructs his vision of a post-apocalyptic America with typical precision and skilled use of language. It is easy to imagine the ravaged landscape, but the violence of McCarthy's vision is strangely missing, and as a result The Pesthouse seems to lack a purpose, other than to sketch out a landscape of destruction in some depth.

As with "The Road", the characters here are all heading towards the coast and the potential of ships to a better life, but somewhere along the way The Pesthouse seems to lose direction, and the story gets bogged down in some essentially uninteresting characters. Even the finest prose can become hard work if it doesn't drive a compelling story, and Crace almost gets lost in his own nightmarish world before dragging out a pretty unconvincing conclusion.

Much like the world Crace has created here, the book is hard going, and hard to fathom and ultimately unrewarding.
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