Sunday, April 29, 2007

Prose on Crace

Been reading a few reviews of the new Jim Crace this weekend, and Francine Prose's has been the best so far. I liked this passage especially:
In the British press, there’s been some titillated nail-biting about how the book will be received in this country, where it is set: Let’s poke the big bully with a stick and see how he reacts. How surprising of British critics to so underestimate Crace, who is not a naïve writer, who has surely noticed the alarming ratio of (to quote William Blake) “dark Satanic mills” to “green and pleasant land” in his own country, and who has doubtless observed that, fair or not, ecological catastrophes rarely happen to the people who cause them. I’d imagine that what made the book so satisfying to write was not the chance to punish America for its sins against nature, but rather the appeal of making the future reverse the past in the great eastward migration that Crace charts.
And also this one:
My mother-in-law, who was a fountain of folk wisdom, used to say that World War III would be fought with sticks and stones. When she said it, I believed her. But it wasn’t like reading Dante. You can’t help wanting more from art, and from Jim Crace. You can’t help wanting something new, something beyond an inspired melding of science fiction and the horrors we ourselves dream up in the dead of night. It’s disorienting and a little dispiriting — like some sort of odd deja vu — to read about the hell of the future and feel that we’ve been there before.


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