Harvest_book cover
2015 Winner

Harvest

artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrive on the woodland borders and puts up a make-shift camp. That same night, the local manor house is set on fire.

Over the course of seven days, Walter Thirsk sees his hamlet unmade: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, the new arrivals cruelly punished, and his neighbours held captive on suspicion of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of his story, and he will be the only man left to tell it . . .

Told in Jim Crace’s hypnotic prose, Harvest evokes the tragedy of land pillaged and communities scattered, as England’s fields are irrevocably enclosed. Timeless yet singular, mythical yet deeply personal, this beautiful novel of one man and his unnamed village speaks for a way of life lost for ever.

Set in an unspecified time in the past, in a green corner of England, Harvest is the story of the last days of a village and the death of an age-old way of life.

It is late summer and the Enclosure Act is making itself known, cutting up and fencing off land, removing it from the reaches of the common man and securing it for the privileged few. But the harvest, at least, has been gathered and as weary villagers rest their bones in ready for the following night’s celebrations, three strangers arrive and set up camp on the outskirts of the village. These strangers: two men and one disturbingly alluring woman, are themselves, victims of the Enclosure Act and have been driven from their homes to live the lives of vagrants. That same night, a fire breaks out in the barn owned by Master Kent, the Lord of the Manor. Suspicion and fear begin to stir; fingers point at the newcomers – they will be made to pay.

One man, Walter Thirsk, knows who is really to blame for the fire. Thirsk, himself a blow-in of a mere dozen years, is now a widower. He is also a born survivor. Keeping himself to himself, divulging only what needs to be divulged, he confides in no-one, except of course, the reader.

Walter Thirsk is the ideal narrator; he tucks us under his wing and takes us through the landscape of the story, pointing out the dangers and the deceits; filling us in on village gossip; shining a light on the powers that be. He draws us right into the dark heart of this village where betrayal, cruelty, greed, cowardice and lust are ever lurking – vices that have been, and always will be with us and thereby bringing a contemporary relevance to the novel.

At times, Harvest reads like a long prose poem; it plays on the ear like a river of words. But then again, Jim Crace is a consummate wordsmith; his understanding of human nature is uncanny and he never drops a stitch from start to finish. All human life is here: its graces and disgraces and there is life too in every small stone, flower and blade of grass. A powerful and compelling novel, Harvest is a worthy winner of the International DUBLIN IMPAC Prize

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Jim
Crace

Novelist Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1946 and was brought up in north London.

He read English Literature as an external student at London University and worked for VSO in Sudan as an assistant in Sudanese educational television. He began writing fiction in 1974 and his first story, ‘Annie, California Plates’, was published by the New Review, a literary journal edited by Ian Hamilton. He became Writer in Residence at the Midlands Arts Centre and in 1983 he directed the first Birmingham Festival of Readers and Writers.

Jim Crace is widely regarded as an innovative and highly original writer with a powerful ability to create imaginary worlds and landscapes. His first book, Continent (1986), consists of seven interconnected stories set on an imaginary seventh continent, exploring Western attitudes to the Third World. It won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. The Gift of Stones (1988) portrays a coastal Stone Age community threatened by Bronze Age technology, while Arcadia (1992), his third book, is set in an imaginary British city in the future. Signals of Distress (1994) explores the events surrounding a shipwreck off the Cornish coast in the 1830s, and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Quarantine (1997), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, is a reworking of the biblical account of Jesus’s 40 days spent in the wilderness. Being Dead (1999) narrates the murder and physical decomposition of a couple on a remote beach, interpolated with episodes from their life. The novel won the Whitbread Novel Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (USA) and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The Devil’s Larder (2001), consists of 64 short fictions about food. Extracts from the novel had previously been published as The Slow Digestions of the Night in 1995. Six (2003) charts the sexual history of actor Felix Dern, whose seemingly perfect life is blighted by the fact that every woman he sleeps with bears his child.The Pesthouse (2007) is a love story set in a future America. His most recent novels are On Heat (2008), All That Follows (2010), and Harvest (2013), which was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Walter Scott Prize, and won the 2013 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2015. His latest novel is The Melody (2018).

Jim Crace 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. In 2000, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Central England for Distinguished Literary Achievements. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.

Novelist Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1946 and was brought up in north London.

He read English Literature as an external student at London University and worked for VSO in Sudan as an assistant in Sudanese educational television. He began writing fiction in 1974 and his first story, ‘Annie, California Plates’, was published by the New Review, a literary journal edited by Ian Hamilton. He became Writer in Residence at the Midlands Arts Centre and in 1983 he directed the first Birmingham Festival of Readers and Writers.

Jim Crace is widely regarded as an innovative and highly original writer with a powerful ability to create imaginary worlds and landscapes. His first book, Continent (1986), consists of seven interconnected stories set on an imaginary seventh continent, exploring Western attitudes to the Third World. It won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. The Gift of Stones (1988) portrays a coastal Stone Age community threatened by Bronze Age technology, while Arcadia (1992), his third book, is set in an imaginary British city in the future. Signals of Distress (1994) explores the events surrounding a shipwreck off the Cornish coast in the 1830s, and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Quarantine (1997), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, is a reworking of the biblical account of Jesus’s 40 days spent in the wilderness. Being Dead (1999) narrates the murder and physical decomposition of a couple on a remote beach, interpolated with episodes from their life. The novel won the Whitbread Novel Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (USA) and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The Devil’s Larder (2001), consists of 64 short fictions about food. Extracts from the novel had previously been published as The Slow Digestions of the Night in 1995. Six (2003) charts the sexual history of actor Felix Dern, whose seemingly perfect life is blighted by the fact that every woman he sleeps with bears his child.The Pesthouse (2007) is a love story set in a future America. His most recent novels are On Heat (2008), All That Follows (2010), and Harvest (2013), which was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Walter Scott Prize, and won the 2013 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2015. His latest novel is The Melody (2018).

Jim Crace 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. In 2000, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Central England for Distinguished Literary Achievements. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find any translators matching your search. Please try using different keywords or check back later as we regularly update our collection.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

As with Crace’s other novels, Harvest is deftly written, in language – formal, slightly archaic even – that reflects the setting it describes. It’s also tightly plotted; less than a week passes from the moment smoke is sighted until the books’ fateful outcome, and yet once underway, we have the sense that everything is inevitable.

Harvest looks at people as the century transitions and its impact on them.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
12/02/2013
Author
Publisher
Picador

RELATED FEATURES

News January 16 2024

2024 Dublin Literary Award Longlist Revealed

With books nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries, 4 novels by Irish authors are in the running for the €100,000 prize sponsored by Dublin City Council
News November 28 2023

2024 Dublin Literary Award Judges Announced

Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
Video June 2 2023

Highlights from the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony

Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.
Video May 26 2023

2023 Award Winners in Conversation with Rick O’Shea

Author, Katja Oskamp and translator, Jo Heinrich in conversation.

STAY CONNECTED

Stay in touch and sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates on the Dublin Literary Award.