Sunday, 15 August 2010

Being Dead - a novel by Jim Crace

This isn't a novel for the squeamish! It starts with a murder and then describes in great detail the decomposition of the murdered bodies as they lie in sand dunes. We are introduced to the insects and other creatures that start to feed on and colonise the bodies. This is a bit icky, but is also a wonderful illustration of the place death has in the processes of life and the place that humans have in the wider ecosystem.

The bodies are those of Joseph and Celice, who when they had been alive were academics and biologists. The novel also follows them in their student days when they meet on a biology field trip. This part of the novel is full of detailed observations of the natural world.

We later see the couple as they go back to the place of their field trip. Time has not been kind either to them or to the coastline - which is now under development as a luxury gated community.

Given that today we are all too likely to forget our place in the natural world, this is an important book that deserves to be widely read.

Being Dead by Jim Crace, 1999

6 comments:

Rabbits' Guy said...

Young, immortal kids ("The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout, and then you turn an icky green ...") and very creative writers only dwell on such things I suspect!

furrybutts said...

Interesting! Mentally filing this under the To Read list ;)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Wow....

RSA Certificate said...

Wow I wish I hadn't been eating lunch when I read this!
Book sounds interesting though, I'll check it out ;)

Naquillity said...

this book sounds intriguing. thanks for sharing. hope all is well.

SzélsőFa said...

i think it's quite a reasonable subject - but i do wonder if it works for the length of a complete novel. strange, but i'd love to see, read or possibly translate it to be available in Hungary as well ;)