Harvest: March book of the month
Award-winning novelist Jim Crace announced last year that his latest book, Harvest, would also be his last. The novel, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013, is all about a way of life that has been lost forever.
Harvest is a bewitching, semi-mythological tale set in a landscape that is never named, but appears to be rural England at the time of the Enclosures. Traditional relationships between man and nature, and the relationships within the feudal village, are coming to an end. The arrival of three strangers (and a fire at the manor house on the same night) leads to suspicion, violence and fear.
Over the next seven days, we learn about the collapse of the community from Walter Thirsk, a former valet to the lord of the manor and now a field labourer. We also learn that he is not a very reliable narrator… The growing sense of claustrophobia and mob rule is like The Crucible – all the more so because the reader does not know what to trust.
Like Crace's previous novels Being Dead and Quarantine, Harvest has a fable-like quality where the place and people appear both intensely lifelike and also rather magical or unreal. The sparse yet lyrical prose has a unique style– as Boyd Tonkin put it: 'Inimitably excellent, Jim Crace stands on his own ground among living English novelists'.
Tightly structured and meticulously written, Harvest is an outstanding finale to a truly brilliant career.
Read an extract
Read an extract of the book here.
About the author
Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire in 1946. He read English Literature at London University and worked in Sudan before beginning to write fiction in 1974. His first book Continent (1986) won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. His other novels include Quarantine (shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Being Dead (winner of the Whitbread Novel Award). He was awarded the E. M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999.
For more detail on Jim Crace's fiction, short stories, radio plays and journalism, visit his website, where you'll also find Jim's Books of the Year 2013 recommendations.
Ten lucky bloggers were given the chance to review the book - click here to read their thoughts on Harvest.
Visit the Picador website, choose any book you'd like to buy from Jim Crace's backlist, enter JC40M at the checkout and a 40% discount will be applied to your purchase (all except Harvest). Offer ends on 31st March 2014.
We are thrilled that Jim will be joining us and answering questions about Harvest, his writing career, and all of his previous novels in a webchat (date to be confirmed). So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and look forward to hearing your thoughts.