[Read] ➲ Continent By Jim Crace – Turboville.co.uk

This is how treasure is unearthed.I m in Florida visiting family I find a used book store in Fort Myers a shotgun unit in a dilapidated strip mall wedged between a nail salon and a failing pizzaria The store is mostly pulp romance paperbacks, but there is a slim selection of Fiction apparently a catch all for everything not romance a single shelf where used books are collected vertically to economize space There s a Barth book I don t have wedged in the middle of a stack my clumsiness This is how treasure is unearthed.I m in Florida visiting family I find a used book store in Fort Myers a shotgun unit in a dilapidated strip mall wedged between a nail salon and a failing pizzaria The store is mostly pulp romance paperbacks, but there is a slim selection of Fiction apparently a catch all for everything not romance a single shelf where used books are collected vertically to economize space There s a Barth book I don t have wedged in the middle of a stack my clumsiness retrieving it causes a cascade of books to hit the floor One of these is a slim volume that lands face down my eyes are drawn to a quote on the top by author John Hawkes Stunning, powerful and original I also see Whitbread Prize I don t read further it comes along with the Barth.And the book is a winner I can t won t say a thing about its subject matter that is part of the beauty of the experience the reader should be allowed to witness the excitement of understanding as the seven tales unfold The writing is stunning tip o the hat, Hawkes but I was equally impressed by the subject matter, Crace disproving the adage that there is nothing new under the sun.If you read this, please do yourself the favor of not reading the book blurb or anything on GR about the book open to the first page and be reminded anew the power and excitement of unearthing BURIED treasures I read this book when it first came out, in 1986, as part of my research into what makes a good writer It features perfectly competent short stories, but despite all the publisher s claims to the work s originality, there were not, as far as I can recall, any huge surprises or twists and turns that could not be foreseen It reminded me of one of those chairs or cabinets that a journeyman was required to produce in order to obtain membership of a guild proof of the author s mastery of the var I read this book when it first came out, in 1986, as part of my research into what makes a good writer It features perfectly competent short stories, but despite all the publisher s claims to the work s originality, there were not, as far as I can recall, any huge surprises or twists and turns that could not be foreseen It reminded me of one of those chairs or cabinets that a journeyman was required to produce in order to obtain membership of a guild proof of the author s mastery of the various techniques necessary to acquire the status of craftsman Writing not out of place in Granta or a myriad other gatekeeper journals protecting the reading public from independent thought about aesthetic taste and moral judgement.Addendum Let me confess, too, to being underwhelmed by Crace s other books that I have read, so it s perhaps my aversion to his style and subject matter that renders him uninteresting Why not start from beginning This is my first meeting with Jim Crace so I decided to start with his first novel Continent is collection of seven stories placed on made up seventh continent It s place in early stages of civilization where influence of western cultures is just setting in so as reacquiring theme we have clash of old and new ways Superstition vs technology, tradition vs progress and in this fight Crace doesn t remain neutral.Overall short and sweet book that can be completed und Why not start from beginning This is my first meeting with Jim Crace so I decided to start with his first novel Continent is collection of seven stories placed on made up seventh continent It s place in early stages of civilization where influence of western cultures is just setting in so as reacquiring theme we have clash of old and new ways Superstition vs technology, tradition vs progress and in this fight Crace doesn t remain neutral.Overall short and sweet book that can be completed under two hours of reading.I can t wait to see other of his work My copy of Continent contains the following inscription For Simon,Christmas 1986All the best for the New Year any new continents you may take on There s a signature below it, but it s incomprehensible The copy in question is a hardback published by William Heinemann in London in 1986, apparently a first edition sold for 4.95 net, with a sticker saying you can afford the journey put on a cover someone Simon Simon s giver removed it from this copy How far have we gone can My copy of Continent contains the following inscription For Simon,Christmas 1986All the best for the New Year any new continents you may take on There s a signature below it, but it s incomprehensible The copy in question is a hardback published by William Heinemann in London in 1986, apparently a first edition sold for 4.95 net, with a sticker saying you can afford the journey put on a cover someone Simon Simon s giver removed it from this copy How far have we gone can you imagine a brand new hardcover being sold at a bookstore with the retail price of five quid I wondered about Simon What kind of a person was he The inscription implied him to be a traveler, and one who has journeyed beyond his native continent Did he enjoy the book This isn t a novel, but a collection of seven stories set in an unnamed, fictitious seventh continent, where old tradition clashes with unavoidable progress Did Simon take the book with him on one of his journeys That would make the book a traveler as well How did it slip from his hands, and end up in mine What has the book seen Where has it been These are all questions which have been on my mind as I was reading Continent, Jim Crace s debut work Each of his novel is very different from the other he s not a writer afraid of experimenting and trying new things, and it paid off Continent has won the Whitbread First Novel of the Year Award, and his later historical novels Quarantine and Harvest have both been nominated for the Booker Prize Britain s finest He s an accomplished and skilled writer, and Continent is no exception the opening story, Talking Skull, a freshly educated young man struggles with defining his future should he embrace his education and spread ideas and wisdom, or continue to feed on the superstitions of the local, uneducated population and make a fortune like his father Similarly, in another story, a village scribe struggles to stay true to his art in the face of profit and greed coming from the outsiders who came to seek him for their own gains The dreamlike continent created by Crace echoes the struggles of our own world corruption, colonialism, and the erosion of old cultures by the new I m glad that I read it and I m pretty sure that Simon appreciated it too, wherever he might be now To Those Who Say There S Nothing New To Be Written Or Read, Jim Crace Has Responded For This Provocative Collection Of Short Stories, Crace Created A Whole New Continent Unnamed And Unspecified, The Continent Nevertheless Resonates With Characters, Developments, Contradictions And Examinations Of The Path And Power Of Progress In One Story Electricity Comes To A Country In The Form Of A Giant Fan In Another A Government Agent Out To Exploit A Primitive People Discovers The Beauty Of Traditional Life The Book, Which Won A Whitbread Prize, Takes Us To A New World In A Journey That Causes Us Look Closely At Our Own Kontinent je zbirka pri a sa zajedni kom idejom i ija se radnja de ava na imaginarnom sedmom kontinentu koji kao da je tek otkriven od strane civilizovanog sveta Pore enje sa Afrikom se samo name e ali to ipak nije Afrika ve ne to jo starije To su prvi, po etni koraci dru tva u kome tek po inje da se ire obrazovanje, elektrifikacija, zamiru stari zanati, stara sujeverja i obi aji, stranci istra uju zaostala plemena, iri se korupcija i strahovlada Ukratko, tranzicija Na samom po etku Kontinent je zbirka pri a sa zajedni kom idejom i ija se radnja de ava na imaginarnom sedmom kontinentu koji kao da je tek otkriven od strane civilizovanog sveta Pore enje sa Afrikom se samo name e ali to ipak nije Afrika ve ne to jo starije To su prvi, po etni koraci dru tva u kome tek po inje da se ire obrazovanje, elektrifikacija, zamiru stari zanati, stara sujeverja i obi aji, stranci istra uju zaostala plemena, iri se korupcija i strahovlada Ukratko, tranzicija Na samom po etku Krejs navodi citat koji koji je retko prikladan Daleko, daleko, postoji sedmi kontinent sedam naroda, sedam gospodara, sedam mora A njihov posao su trgovina i sujeverje Pikletije, Istorija, IV, 3 Neko bi mo da o ekivao da probleme u rajski vrt donose stranci ali ovde je jasno da je Krejs na strani civilizovanosti kao, uostalom, i u svim ostalim njegovim knjigama koje sam pro itao Zato ga i toliko volim, izme u ostalog Jezik je ist, pri e su jednostavne, u nekim trenucima sam imao utisak da su to samo skice, ali to ni ta ne umanjuje, naprotiv Upe atljivo delo Mo da ovo nije najbolja knjiga da se po ne s Krejsom ali svakako zaslu uje sve moje preporuke jer iako je prvo njegovo delo, on je u njemu ve bio na svom prepoznatljivom vrhunskom nivou.Nai ao sam na jedan duga ak intervju u kome u jednom delu autor opisuje svoje knji evne po etke i nastanak ovog dela Vrlo mi je zanimljiv on je u stvari osnovni razlog to sam uop te po eo ovaj komentar pa u, kao zaklju ak, preneti taj deo As I said, when those first few stories were published, I got approached by several agents and publishers They were all posh toffs from London as far as I was concerned But one, a publisher called David Godwin, made the trek up to Birmingham to see me He picked up my then young son, Tom, and said, What a pretty kid That was totally persuasive David who is now my agent offered me a book contract And so I sat down and started writing this piece of realist political fiction, set in a suburb not a lot different from the Birmingham suburb of Moseley, which is where I lived then and am still living now It was garbage It was a novel that my seventeen year old self would have wanted to write, but I was almost forty by then and I couldn t see what the next sentence should be, let alone the next paragraph, let alone what the rest of the book might be about I was forcing this thing forward and it was appalling David Godwin would occasionally phone up and say, How s the novel going, old chap and I would say, It s inching forward But it wasn t inching forward at all It was dying on its legs.I was doing some reviewing as well at the time, and I read a novel called In Evil Hour by Gabriel Garc a M rquez and others by him at the same time I thought, This is great, but I don t admire it Why don t I admire it Because when I m down at the pub, I m bullshitting like this all the time I m making stuff up, not trying to hold a mirror up to the world I m just making stuff up for the sake of it, and that s all that Gabriel Garc a M rquez is doing I could do this in my sleep, I thought, I m going to give it a try So I shelved the social realism and sat down and wrote Continent It was exactly the kind of book that my seventeen year old self would sneer at rhythmic prose, moralistic, bourgeois fiction Exactly the kind of stuff I didn t want to write, but I realized at once that I had found my voice I had no other voice I had to play the cards that I d been dealt.As soon as I d started on the first story of Continent, not only could I see what the next story was, or what that book could be, I knew what my next four books were The novels stretched ahead, that s the truth of the matter, as soon as I d reconciled myself to being a fabulist rather than a political realist I sit here now and I know exactly what my next two books will be 3.5 This was Crace s first book, a book of short stories that surprisingly won the Whitebread award for first fiction Surprising because the award went to a book of short stories These are stories that take place in a made up place, said to be the sixth continent or is it Craces explores societies coming up against the old superstitions faced with new scientific progress Much that happens everywhere, everyday His stories explore the ambiguity of changes and progress on the people and this w 3.5 This was Crace s first book, a book of short stories that surprisingly won the Whitebread award for first fiction Surprising because the award went to a book of short stories These are stories that take place in a made up place, said to be the sixth continent or is it Craces explores societies coming up against the old superstitions faced with new scientific progress Much that happens everywhere, everyday His stories explore the ambiguity of changes and progress on the people and this world I liked them, I like the way he writes Very clear and concise, easy to follow The stories are often an exaggeration of our most hidden fears How things and people that are different, are looked on with suspicion How we many times embrace the old, because it is familiar, even when it is not working Good collection of stories I m not sure I totally get it with this collection of short stories but there is a certain thread of irony that runs through them all Crace is a good story teller but I m not sure I would return to this for a second reading I much prefer his later works A Gift of Stones and Harvest. Seven stories for seven continents, perhaps but not the familiar ones If the publishers hadn t banged on about Jim Crace s entirely imaginary realm all over the cover, the effect would have beensubtle, since the stories could easily have been accommodated within the known world The fact that they are not quite is intriguing and mildly unsettling Given the author s stated dislike for research, a cynic might suggest that imaginary realms obviate the need for anybut not I, of course Seven stories for seven continents, perhaps but not the familiar ones If the publishers hadn t banged on about Jim Crace s entirely imaginary realm all over the cover, the effect would have beensubtle, since the stories could easily have been accommodated within the known world The fact that they are not quite is intriguing and mildly unsettling Given the author s stated dislike for research, a cynic might suggest that imaginary realms obviate the need for anybut not I, of course Many, if not all, the stories explore the impact of the outside world on indigenous cultures which is, as expected, destructive even if it is only a well meaning Canadian runner outracing a local lad on a horse where all the young men of the mountains rode horses Or another young man, educated at a foreign university, uncertain of his status and his future What must I do, fellow students Decay here by the light of a thousand oil lamps Or cast off my inheritanceput my faith in science and modernityA similar conundrum faces the villagers in Jim Crace s later novel Harvest, as enclosures shut down their ancient way of life An interesting and original collection though perhaps a little too low key to have any very great impact While I m not a great fan of short stories per se I picked up this collection purely based on my liking of Jim Grace s style, and I wasn t disappointed At less than 200 pages it s a fast read, and although it s his first book, his characteristic dry tone is fully developed here.As far as I can tell the stories are all allegories about the clash between modernity some might call it globalisation in hindsight in the mid 80s the term wasn t really in use that much and the old world, an unname While I m not a great fan of short stories per se I picked up this collection purely based on my liking of Jim Grace s style, and I wasn t disappointed At less than 200 pages it s a fast read, and although it s his first book, his characteristic dry tone is fully developed here.As far as I can tell the stories are all allegories about the clash between modernity some might call it globalisation in hindsight in the mid 80s the term wasn t really in use that much and the old world, an unnamed country countries that dream s of technology and gets invariably disappointed when the wished for thing arrives.Not exactly new or original in content, but you dig his style than you won t go wrong Continent


About the Author: Jim Crace

James Jim Crace is an award winning English writer His novel Quarantine, won the Whitbread Novel award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Harvest won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.Crace grew up in Forty Hill, an area at the far northern point of Greater London, close to Enfield where Crace attended Enfield Grammar School He studied for a degree at the Birmingham College of Commerce now part of Birmingham City University , where he was enrolled as an external student of the University of London After securing a BA Hons in English Literature in 1968, he travelled overseas with the UK organization Voluntary Services Overseas VSO , working in Sudan Two years later he returned to the UK, and worked with the BBC, writing educational programmes From 1976 to 1987 he worked as a freelance journalist for The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers In 1986 Crace published Continent Continent won the Whitbread First Novel of the Year Award, the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Guardian Fiction Prize This work was followed by The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress, Quarantine, Being Dead and Six His most recent novel, The Pesthouse, was published in the UK in March 2007.Despite living in Britain, Crace issuccessful in the United States, as evidenced by the award of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1999.


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