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Being Dead Paperback – 4 May 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (4 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140239758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140239751
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Zoologists Joseph and Celice returned to the site of their first lovemaking to rekindle the flame thirty years into their marriage, only to be battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their bodies lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand-crabs, flies and gulls, and yet there is something touching about this scene--it's in the way that Joseph's hand curves lightly around Celice's leg, "quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead but not departed yet."

Being Dead is more about the leavings of death than it is about the state of death itself. Running crazy fate lines between the past and present of Joseph and Celice, Crace returns again and again to those mutilated bodies in the dunes with updates on the colour of their decaying skin, the seeping fluids and the creatures feeding off them. This is not a murder book-- the killer is perhaps the least important character. But Crace gives some wonderful glances at death- professionals, in particular a drugged-up lascivious mortuary clerk; "He'd find his own name on the list one day...Enfin, a name to make his heart stand still. Sincere at last."

Jim Crace is the author of Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress and Quarantine, which won the 1997 Whitbread Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize and IMPAC Literary Prize. Crace has won numerous other awards, including the EM Forster Award and the Guardian Fiction Award. -- Anna Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It's not clear to me why Jim Crace isn't world famous. Few novels are as unsparing as this one in presenting the ephemerality of love given the implacability of death, and few are as moving in depicting the undiminished achievement love nevertheless represents."--Jim Shepard, "The New York Times Book Review "
"Jim Crace's work grows more compelling and brilliant with each new novel . . . "Being Dead "will undoubtedly stand out as one of the literary masterpieces of the early 21st century."--Greg Burkman, "The Seattle Times"
"Crace archly explores life and death and the effect of chance upon the two . . . [He] pulls off a remarkable fusion of chaos theory and natural order in telling this story."--Frank Caso, "Booklist "
"An extraordinary work of imagination, witty, precise, immaculately written, and full of scientific detail, all of it convincing, none of it true."--"Times Literary Supplement "
"Sumptuously exact . . . The naked daring of Crace's subject matter seems to have produced prose more majestic and assured than any of his previous novels . . . This story's terse, drumming, iambic utterances often come close to verse, and its wit matches the best of any of Crace's contemporaries . . . [But] this is the particular miracle of" Being Dead." These lives at first appear too unremarkable to claim our attention, and the physical facts of their end too repulsive to allow us to care, yet we are intensely involved in the drama . . . Our caring, as Crace makes clear, is a tribute to life itself."--Carey Harrison, "The San Francisco Chronicle "
"A triumph. What Crace, with dazzling originality, has done is to log the death of two natural scientists from an appropriately physical point of view. No detail is spared, yet the effect is strangely poetic and even reassuring . . . In that spare story a universe of poetry and observation is contained. This is a work of near-genius . . . [by] one of the most distinctive and talented writers of

It's not clear to me why Jim Crace isn't world famous. Few novels are as unsparing as this one in presenting the ephemerality of love given the implacability of death, and few are as moving in depicting the undiminished achievement love nevertheless represents. "Jim Shepard, The New York Times Book Review"

Jim Crace's work grows more compelling and brilliant with each new novel . . . "Being Dead "will undoubtedly stand out as one of the literary masterpieces of the early 21st century. "Greg Burkman, The Seattle Times"

Crace archly explores life and death and the effect of chance upon the two . . . [He] pulls off a remarkable fusion of chaos theory and natural order in telling this story. "Frank Caso, Booklist"

An extraordinary work of imagination, witty, precise, immaculately written, and full of scientific detail, all of it convincing, none of it true. "Times Literary Supplement"

Sumptuously exact . . . The naked daring of Crace's subject matter seems to have produced prose more majestic and assured than any of his previous novels . . . This story's terse, drumming, iambic utterances often come close to verse, and its wit matches the best of any of Crace's contemporaries . . . [But] this is the particular miracle of" Being Dead." These lives at first appear too unremarkable to claim our attention, and the physical facts of their end too repulsive to allow us to care, yet we are intensely involved in the drama . . . Our caring, as Crace makes clear, is a tribute to life itself. "Carey Harrison, The San Francisco Chronicle"

A triumph. What Crace, with dazzling originality, has done is to log the death of two natural scientists from an appropriately physical point of view. No detail is spared, yet the effect is strangely poetic and even reassuring . . . In that spare story a universe of poetry and observation is contained. This is a work of near-genius . . . [by] one of the most distinctive and talented writers of our time. "Justin Cartwright, The Literary Review"

Crace writes with the power of a Darwinian god . . . a novel of astonishing intensity. Writing so deeply tactful and loving of the biological machine we call the body is rare. Crace is the only writer capable of writing like this--luscious, rich, heavy with ornament and arcane science, yet ethically focused . . . Being Dead is one of the best books written since the death of Beckett . . . Read this book. "London Evening Standard"

A brilliant, astonishing novel. "Ruth Scurr, The Times (London)"

A virtuoso piece of writing, with page after page filled with harsh, earthy evocation of the mini-sagas of living and dying. "Dan Cryer, Newsday"

Crace has written the rare novel whose formal, narrative, and prosodic components rhyme effortlessly. "Sarah Manguso, The Boston Book Review"

Crace writes with such staggering beauty, intelligence and mesmerising sensitivity on love, nature and zoology, death, mourning and the workings of life itself that "Being Dead "is a work that a reader will marvel at and cherish. It cannot be overpraised or, once read, easily forgotten. "Susan Miron, The Miami Herald"

What a stylist Crace is, and what a vision . . . Crace has the rare gift of seeing the splendor under the grass. In his 'everending' vision, death and romance are inextricably entwined . . . [A] tour de force from one of Britain's best novelists. "Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"

A most unexpectedly romantic story and an exceptional feat, to so commingle the mundane and the sublime, that one is left awestruck and dazzled. "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"

Crace has crafted an original--an exquisitely gentle and unsentimental tale on the evolution of love . . . [Crace is] a highly-evolved novelist, and an active, living anatomist of love. "Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Strong, inventive, and above all courageous . . . For all the 'experimental' feel that he imparts to his work, the fact is that, to say it again, Crace is working firmly within the mainstream of English fiction, and a good thing that is . . . A solid yet always adventurous writer, he has done much to revitalize a tradition in danger of becoming moribund. "John Banville, The New York Review of Books""

It's not clear to me why Jim Crace isn't world famous. Few novels are as unsparing as this one in presenting the ephemerality of love given the implacability of death, and few are as moving in depicting the undiminished achievement love nevertheless represents. Jim Shepard, The New York Times Book Review

Jim Crace's work grows more compelling and brilliant with each new novel . . . Being Dead will undoubtedly stand out as one of the literary masterpieces of the early 21st century. Greg Burkman, The Seattle Times

Crace archly explores life and death and the effect of chance upon the two . . . [He] pulls off a remarkable fusion of chaos theory and natural order in telling this story. Frank Caso, Booklist

An extraordinary work of imagination, witty, precise, immaculately written, and full of scientific detail, all of it convincing, none of it true. Times Literary Supplement

Sumptuously exact . . . The naked daring of Crace's subject matter seems to have produced prose more majestic and assured than any of his previous novels . . . This story's terse, drumming, iambic utterances often come close to verse, and its wit matches the best of any of Crace's contemporaries . . . [But] this is the particular miracle of Being Dead. These lives at first appear too unremarkable to claim our attention, and the physical facts of their end too repulsive to allow us to care, yet we are intensely involved in the drama . . . Our caring, as Crace makes clear, is a tribute to life itself. Carey Harrison, The San Francisco Chronicle

A triumph. What Crace, with dazzling originality, has done is to log the death of two natural scientists from an appropriately physical point of view. No detail is spared, yet the effect is strangely poetic and even reassuring . . . In that spare story a universe of poetry and observation is contained. This is a work of near-genius . . . [by] one of the most distinctive and talented writers of our time. Justin Cartwright, The Literary Review

Crace writes with the power of a Darwinian god . . . a novel of astonishing intensity. Writing so deeply tactful and loving of the biological machine we call the body is rare. Crace is the only writer capable of writing like this--luscious, rich, heavy with ornament and arcane science, yet ethically focused . . . Being Dead is one of the best books written since the death of Beckett . . . Read this book. London Evening Standard

A brilliant, astonishing novel. Ruth Scurr, The Times (London)

A virtuoso piece of writing, with page after page filled with harsh, earthy evocation of the mini-sagas of living and dying. Dan Cryer, Newsday

Crace has written the rare novel whose formal, narrative, and prosodic components rhyme effortlessly. Sarah Manguso, The Boston Book Review

Crace writes with such staggering beauty, intelligence and mesmerising sensitivity on love, nature and zoology, death, mourning and the workings of life itself that Being Dead is a work that a reader will marvel at and cherish. It cannot be overpraised or, once read, easily forgotten. Susan Miron, The Miami Herald

What a stylist Crace is, and what a vision . . . Crace has the rare gift of seeing the splendor under the grass. In his 'everending' vision, death and romance are inextricably entwined . . . [A] tour de force from one of Britain's best novelists. Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A most unexpectedly romantic story and an exceptional feat, to so commingle the mundane and the sublime, that one is left awestruck and dazzled. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Crace has crafted an original--an exquisitely gentle and unsentimental tale on the evolution of love . . . [Crace is] a highly-evolved novelist, and an active, living anatomist of love. Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Strong, inventive, and above all courageous . . . For all the 'experimental' feel that he imparts to his work, the fact is that, to say it again, Crace is working firmly within the mainstream of English fiction, and a good thing that is . . . A solid yet always adventurous writer, he has done much to revitalize a tradition in danger of becoming moribund. John Banville, The New York Review of Books

"

"It's not clear to me why Jim Crace isn't world famous. Few novels are as unsparing as this one in presenting the ephemerality of love given the implacability of death, and few are as moving in depicting the undiminished achievement love nevertheless represents." --Jim Shepard, The New York Times Book Review

"Jim Crace's work grows more compelling and brilliant with each new novel . . . Being Dead will undoubtedly stand out as one of the literary masterpieces of the early 21st century." --Greg Burkman, The Seattle Times

"Crace archly explores life and death and the effect of chance upon the two . . . [He] pulls off a remarkable fusion of chaos theory and natural order in telling this story." --Frank Caso, Booklist

"An extraordinary work of imagination, witty, precise, immaculately written, and full of scientific detail, all of it convincing, none of it true." --Times Literary Supplement

"Sumptuously exact . . . The naked daring of Crace's subject matter seems to have produced prose more majestic and assured than any of his previous novels . . . This story's terse, drumming, iambic utterances often come close to verse, and its wit matches the best of any of Crace's contemporaries . . . [But] this is the particular miracle of Being Dead. These lives at first appear too unremarkable to claim our attention, and the physical facts of their end too repulsive to allow us to care, yet we are intensely involved in the drama . . . Our caring, as Crace makes clear, is a tribute to life itself." --Carey Harrison, The San Francisco Chronicle

"A triumph. What Crace, with dazzling originality, has done is to log the death of two natural scientists from an appropriately physical point of view. No detail is spared, yet the effect is strangely poetic and even reassuring . . . In that spare story a universe of poetry and observation is contained. This is a work of near-genius . . . [by] one of the most distinctive and talented writers of our time." --Justin Cartwright, The Literary Review

"Crace writes with the power of a Darwinian god . . . a novel of astonishing intensity. Writing so deeply tactful and loving of the biological machine we call the body is rare. Crace is the only writer capable of writing like this--luscious, rich, heavy with ornament and arcane science, yet ethically focused . . . Being Dead is one of the best books written since the death of Beckett . . . Read this book." --London Evening Standard

"A brilliant, astonishing novel." --Ruth Scurr, The Times (London)

"A virtuoso piece of writing, with page after page filled with harsh, earthy evocation of the mini-sagas of living and dying." --Dan Cryer, Newsday

"Crace has written the rare novel whose formal, narrative, and prosodic components rhyme effortlessly." --Sarah Manguso, The Boston Book Review

"Crace writes with such staggering beauty, intelligence and mesmerising sensitivity on love, nature and zoology, death, mourning and the workings of life itself that Being Dead is a work that a reader will marvel at and cherish. It cannot be overpraised or, once read, easily forgotten." --Susan Miron, The Miami Herald

"What a stylist Crace is, and what a vision . . . Crace has the rare gift of seeing the splendor under the grass. In his 'everending' vision, death and romance are inextricably entwined . . . [A] tour de force from one of Britain's best novelists." --Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A most unexpectedly romantic story and an exceptional feat, to so commingle the mundane and the sublime, that one is left awestruck and dazzled." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Crace has crafted an original--an exquisitely gentle and unsentimental tale on the evolution of love . . . [Crace is] a highly-evolved novelist, and an active, living anatomist of love." --Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Strong, inventive, and above all courageous . . . For all the 'experimental' feel that he imparts to his work, the fact is that, to say it again, Crace is working firmly within the mainstream of English fiction, and a good thing that is . . . A solid yet always adventurous writer, he has done much to revitalize a tradition in danger of becoming moribund." --John Banville, The New York Review of Books

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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