21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book,
This review is from: Harvest (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thought this was an excellent, engrossing and readable book. It has a depth and resonance which I found truly haunting and it has stayed with me very strongly since I finished it.
It is the story of a single week after harvest in a small English village. The exact period and place are unspecified, but the village is very isolated and has a subsistence agricultural economy which is threatened by enclosure for wool production. I think it is Crace's intention to leave us guessing a little in order to show that this could have happened at almost any time between about 1500 and 1800. The narration is by Walter Thirsk, a well-established resident but non-native of the village. We see through his experienced but slightly detached eyes what rural life was really like then: hard, precarious, sometimes brutal and sometimes very rewarding. There is a great deal of thoughtful insight about things like grief, the nature of loyalty and both the compassionate and responsible use of power and its uncaring, selfish abuse - which has some potent modern resonances. A lot happens as apparently small actions and their consequences grow to momentous events. I won't spoil the story by describing any of it, but it is brilliantly evoked in wonderful, atmospheric prose as events unfold showing how fragile even such a long-established community could be.
Walter is a decent, fallible protagonist and the story he tells is gripping, elegiac and haunting, told with a brilliantly balanced mixture of evocative detail and thoughtful, sometimes almost mystical prose. It is superbly done and I really do think this is an exceptionally good book. Very warmly recommended.