Jim Crace has won the James Tait Black Prize for fiction given by Edinburgh University. I read this back in March. Here’s what I thought about it:
I loved the way I could really get into the setting of the book. The writing gave me a vivid picture of the fields, trees, and main house without boring me with details. Some would complain at the lack of secondary character development, but I found the story from Walters point of view only worked well to keep the story consistent and uncomplicated. I was really taken in by the simplicity of the setting and the story which hinted at much more complex themes without being dragged down by them. I found the novel to be timeless; as much about today as the time it was set. Theres no mention of dates or how developed the other communities were. A self contained community could have been at any point in history, even today.
When talking about this on a Mumsnet discussion,this is what Jim Crace had to say about it:
I don’t really do any research because I prefer to wonder and then makes things up. In that respect, Harvest is hardly an historical novel. You shouldn’t trust a word of it. It’s not intended to accurately mirror the History of Enclosures but more to shed some light on the ancient and continuing ways of human kind. Medieval farmers lost their land to sheep, but that sort of loss continues today: woodsmen today are losing their timber lands to palm oil entrepreneurs in Borneo this very day; homelands in Brazil are going under the plough owned by global soya barons; land speculators are turning peasants off their farms in India in order to exploit the recent rise in food prizes. Well, I’ll get off my soap box – but you see what I mean. Harvest is not about History but about Now.
Get the book here Harvest
If you liked this you might also like A Place Called Winter
I received this book from Mumsnet in exchange for a review.