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8 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read
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...
Published on 15 Sep 2012 by PJ_thinks

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Rich writing but maybe over-rich
Crace's writing is rich and has a few gems of ideas but I think he gets carried away with his 'poetic' prose which I found verbose at times. I found 'Harvest' much more interesting- the detailed evocation of landscape was more effective for me than the urban landscape of Arcadia, even if the story was a bit unsatisfying at the end.
Published 6 months ago by Dr. Philip Woods


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read, 15 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
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
This review is from: Arcadia (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different and well written book, 30 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hint of Gormenghast, 28 Nov 2013
By 
Woody Friend (Brixton, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
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 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 14 Jan 2014
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arcadia (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. I still vaguely recall seeing livestock being sold at Peterborough Market in the late 60s (when I was about 5) before that market was redeveloped and covered with a huge metal canopy and such trade ceased in the city when it was redeveloped in the 1970s. The thing that markets achieved was to bring the countryside into the cities. The changing of the seasons and vagaries of the weather had tangible effects on local harvests and the produce that could be seen in markets. Now that goods can be harvested and transported in any country and brought over bigger distances and plonked in supermarkets whatever the season, I wonder whether we have lost that natural sense of season that former generations had. Certainly the noisy banter and profusion of smells one finds in a market is lost in Victor's vision of Arcadia.

The book is not just about Victor and his market though. There is his wily assistant, who tries to become his nemesis but is eventually hoist on his own petard and the traders themselves as well as a host of other ne'er do wells.

I have really enjoyed reading this book and think that Jim Crace has a fantastic way with words and it was a real pleasure to be introduced to his work. I intend to read other books by him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing storyline!, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
Absolutely engrossing. This is the third Jim Crace book I have read and I continue to be impressed by his style and creativity. Such a talented writer. I thoroughly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written & compelling., 7 May 2014
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
The story is original in theme, beautifuly and simply written. Each phrase is economical and has been crafted with care. An engaging and lyrical read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Rich writing but maybe over-rich, 28 April 2014
By 
Dr. Philip Woods (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arcadia (Kindle Edition)
Crace's writing is rich and has a few gems of ideas but I think he gets carried away with his 'poetic' prose which I found verbose at times. I found 'Harvest' much more interesting- the detailed evocation of landscape was more effective for me than the urban landscape of Arcadia, even if the story was a bit unsatisfying at the end.
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Arcadia by Jim Crace
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