Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities

Buy the paperback

Being Dead
by Jim Crace

Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. The putative hero and heroine of Being Dead, zoologists Joseph and Celice, had returned to the site of their first lovemaking 30 years before, intending to rekindle the conjugal flame. Instead, they are battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand crabs, flies, and gulls. Yet there remains something touching about the scene, with Joseph's hand curving lightly around his wife's leg, "quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet."

Morbid? You bet. But Jim Crace's sixth novel is no pulp fiction, nor is it a murder mystery--indeed, the killer is perhaps the least important character. Being Dead is instead an eerily compelling riff on death as a physical and metaphysical event. Crace's time-lapse descriptions of the couple are as distinctive as they are disturbing: "Even if the light was blocked, there would still appear to be a jewelling to their bodies, where life's soft pink and death's smudged grey conspired to find the silver in between." But the author is even more interested in tracking death's epistemological progress:

Joseph was being gathered in by death, cell by cell by cell. He came to be half of himself, and then a quarter of himself, and then a fraction of himself, which was too small to measure. The music and the mayhem had all gone. His more-than-half-an-hour had elapsed.

Zigzagging between past and present, Crace sketches in the context for this literary postmortem. And his grisly premise leaves room for a surprising amount of tenderness: "There can be nothing," he points out, "lonelier than to outlive someone you are used to loving." Inevitably some readers will find Being Dead too strong to stomach. Still, this is a powerful piece of work that tells us something new about the way being subsides into (like it or not) nothingness. --Anna Davis



Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (1 of 1), Read 4 times Conf: Reading List From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 06:41 AM This is my second reading of Being Dead, and it really seemed a lot different this time. Last time I was absolutely blown away by its audacity and newness. This time, of course, I wasn’t as surprised, but I was more aware of the amount of detail involved. I had forgotten about the "quivering." Whether Crace made up that ritual or not, he certainly used the unwinding of Celice and Joseph’s lives as a fascinating organizing element for this original work. So, talk away. Sherry
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (2 of 60), Read 101 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 12:20 PM This is my second reading, too. I'm almost to the end, and I remain blown away. Last time I was so caught up in the story that I really plowed along. This time I plowed, too, but because I'd already read it, like Sherry, I focussed more on the details. And I became aware of how very carefully this book is crafted, how there are echoes and retouchings of words and themes and occurences all through it. And I noticed again how good the writing is. Not a single awkward moment. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (3 of 60), Read 104 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 12:40 PM Well -- this was my first time through Being Dead but there's nothing dead about the topic nor the characters (aside from the two main ones being -- well, dead) -- this is an amazing book -- as amazing in its way as my first ever Crace a few months ago -- Quarantine. With only these two in my grey matter I have already declared here in the pre-discussion thread my loyalty to this author -- he's jumped right over many others and joined my all -time favorites list -- and I can hardly wait till this discussion is in full swing. Did any others of you find yourselves talking out loud to this book -- either this time around or the first time you read it? I was doing some of that from time to time -- and I took it as a sign that I was really hooked deeply into the whole of the unfolding story. Someone suggested not reading this while eating -- hey -- I read it -- meal time as well as not -- I couldn't sit there and NOT read it could I? Not me anyway. But to be honest -- I didn't find myself reacting very squeamishly to these vivid and factual descriptions of the corpses and the process by which they begin and continue to disintegrate -- I just marveled at the give and take of those sections with the story of how this all came about -- from the earliest to the recent events. I agree on the writing, Ruth -- which is why I cannot wait for the next Crace I can get my hands on! In fact, I don't have to wait at all nor far to reach but am waiting until this discussion winds down before I begin Signals of Distress -- I don't want to have yet another Crace volume which I will be tempted to throw into the mix. It will be difficult to keep Quarantine out of my head as it is since it was one of those books which just totally wiped my out -- just WHAM -- and I loved it and I'm still reeling and thinking about it. Same story with Being Dead! Well -- I think I may be wound up a bit -- {G} -- but I'm getting out my notes -- the library book will go back soon unfortunately -- and I'm ready to talk. Dottie The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. Emily Dickinson
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (4 of 60), Read 102 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 02:36 PM Dottie: When you say "I was really hooked deeply into the whole of the unfolding story..." you've nailed one of the reasons (in addition to the gorgeous prose) this book hit me so hard. For me, the biggest downside of being a fiction writer who's reading someone else's fiction is that I very rarely achieve that pure and absolute release of will ("willing suspension of disbelief," as the scholars call it) that I could when I was just a reader, period. Some part of my brain is always analyzing and judging the technique. But there are sections of BEING DEAD (as there are of QUARANTINE) that pull me completely out of myself and into the scene in an eerie, almost supernatural way...the equivalent of astral projection, if you will. One scene in particular that stands out in my memory is when a temporary tent is placed over the bodies as they're examined, and the couple's daughter is inside the tent dealing with the authorities. I was in that tent, 100 percent, not just reading about it, and even today thinking of it gives me goosebumps. Crace is an amazing talent, for sure. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (5 of 60), Read 110 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 02:50 PM I agree with you all that this is as original a concept for a novel as I've run across lately. I take Mr. Crace at his word that he fully intended a novel of atheistic vision. He obviously wanted to take a frontal look at the death and decomposition of this couple from that point of view. Therefore, he had to plot the thing so that they die in an isolated area. He was thus able to avoid the immediate intervention of the embalmer. He wanted a couple to die nearly simultaneously. Murder was the answer there. He set up all of this nicely. A very journeyman-like job on that score. But the novel really soars with his use of lyrical language to describe the deaths and decomposition of the bodies. It's as if Mr. Crace is saying, "Look, this is my vision of the truth of death, and my vision is just as beautiful,--dare I say it?--just as redemptive as any trumped up hocus-pocus on the subject." Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (6 of 60), Read 110 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 03:15 PM Bingo, Steve! Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (7 of 60), Read 100 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 03:35 PM Besides the exquisite writing, Crace also presented the natural decomposition of bodies (something I'm not usually interested in reading about, believe me) as something that promotes life....death, life, death, life...sort of a natural resurrection. In fact, compared to this, embalming etc. seems so sick and, well, morbid! I was a bit squeamish with all the bugs, maggots, etc..but by the end of the book, I took it as only a natural cycle of life. On top of all that he constantly came back to the hand on Celice's ankle..a quivering. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (8 of 60), Read 99 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 03:44 PM Heh -- it's perfect example of that very hocus-pocus -- sorry folks but that's how I see it -- death is to life is to death is to life -- that is how it is supposed to go -- that is how it was intended -- that is how nature functions. None of this disturbs my own personal take on faith in a god as creator -- nor with the ideas of my religion -- it just adds to the layers -- shall we go back over to poetry now? I had much this same response to the ideas in Quarantine which could and will be interpreted by many people as debunking religious beliefs -- but then I tend to color outside the lines a lot{G}. Dottie The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. Emily Dickinson
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (9 of 60), Read 101 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 04:05 PM Reading this again, I was struck by how many connections Crace makes between death and sex, and death and love. Anybody want to expand on this? Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (10 of 60), Read 105 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 04:23 PM Hi everyone, I am new to the group and decided to read Being Dead. I am not sorry I did. As you have all said, the detailed writing and elegant prose is what makes the topic of this book easy to digest. If it were anyone other than Crace with his abilities trying to write this story, it might have come off as crass or just too horrific. The idea of even trying to write a story centered around the violent death of two people and their subsequent decomposition is enough to stop most people, I am sure. I sometimes found the continuous going back further and further in time during that day somewhat tedious and bothersome, but I did enjoy the sections dealing with the daughter, the past and the present. I did not find myself liking Celice or her husband however. I could not shake the feeling that they were much too self-absorbed in their own self-interests, whether as young students or elderly professors and parents. I had much more sympathy for the daughter who truly found this to be a life-defining moment. Looking forward to further discussion and glad to be here. Nancy http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (11 of 60), Read 99 times Conf: Reading List From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 07:39 PM By the end of this book, I agreed with what Crace said, that it was a shame to take these two bodies away from the place where they died. "The earth is practiced in the art of burial." Absolutely, and he didn't follow that with the romantic idea that Joseph's hand would have stayed on Celice's ankle forever. Of course, it wouldn't have. But, how incredibly more natural a process it is to give the earth back its own. I kept thinking at this point what a struggle it was to not have my father embalmed. When Jim Crace comes back, I would love to know about his background in zoology and biology. Did he already have some knowledge in these areas or was it totally from research? And, is it all accurate? I really loved this book. And, I'm having a terribly hard time recommending it to my friends who haven't heard of it before. They look at me as if I'm a bit crazy when I try to describe it to them. I keep wondering what his publishers, etc. said when he proposed this idea. Barb
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (12 of 60), Read 98 times Conf: Reading List From: Mary Anne Papale mapreads@hotmail.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 09:44 PM This book deals with death on so many different levels. There's violent death, with Celice and Joseph, the death of the land through the development of Salt Pines, the Academic Mentor's suicide, and Festa's death. Then there's natural death, as in the changes in the shore line, or the life of a bug. But all of the deaths are dealt with, as the cover says, unsentimentally. Except perhaps for Festa's death, which did elicit a great deal of emotion from Celice. But since it was told from the perspective of 30 years, the pain of the moment was so subtle. I was struck by something I read in the Crace interview Steve posted, a comment about six days of creation and then God rested. Here, Crace called it six days of grace, and then what? It seems like Celice and Joseph were ripped away from their rest, put in wrong-sized coffins. Even the hand resting on the ankle was disturbed. Can one desire too much of a good thing? - W. Shakespeare MAP
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (13 of 60), Read 97 times Conf: Reading List From: Lee Clark leilia_c@hotmail.com Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 10:19 PM J. Crace describes death, not beautiful and not disgusting, just life following the natural order. I enjoyed his, “They’d been passed down, through classes, orders, species, to the last in line, the lumpen multitude, the grubs, the loopers and the millipedes, the button lice, the tubal worms and flets. The bon viveur or nectar bugs, which had either too many legs or none.” We all have our day. As the beetle in chapter 6, “He had not spent, like us, his lifetime concocting systems to deny mortality. …The woman had destroyed his light. He wanted to escape her, and to feed. That was his long-term plan, and his hereafter.” I thought, “what a nice way to tie in the evolution of “lower” life forms, to we of much “higher” life forms.” We tend to define intelligence with respect to human qualities, but in the end, intelligence doesn’t really matter. In the course of evolution, consciousness has evolved from “wanting to escape her and feed” to the lecture given by Celice “life and death are inextricably entwined…both want to give life meaning, only because it clearly has none, other to replicate and decompose. Hard truths.” There is awareness, and there is not…. I read in a thread somewhere, someone wondering if sound was the last to “go?” Well, we obviously do not know, unless of course, you believe in people “surviving death,” and have lived to tell. One does learn in dealing with anesthetized patients, sound is the last sense to go and first to come back. Possibly, Crace is extrapolating from that concept. Leilia
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (14 of 60), Read 99 times Conf: Reading List From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Monday, April 15, 2002 10:19 PM Welcome, Nancy. I'm glad you're reading this with us. Why don't you post a little bit about yourself and what you like to read in the Welcome conference. Sherry
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (15 of 60), Read 98 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2002 09:18 AM Will do. Nancy http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (16 of 60), Read 83 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 07:17 AM Finally I made it on to ConstantReader. I haven't been able to penetrate beyond the Home Page. Now I'm running a bit behind on your discussion, so rather than trying to catch up I'll just pay attention to the main specific question already raised in your thread, viz: How much of the natural history is researched and how much made up? Lee quotes the following passage: “They’d been passed down, through classes, orders, species, to the last in line, the lumpen multitude, the grubs, the loopers and the millipedes, the button lice, the tubal worms and flets. The bon viveur or nectar bugs, which had either too many legs or none.” Well, there are only two real creatures in there - grubs and millipedes. Tubal Worms probably exist. I couldn't be sure. But the other seven creatures (like "quivering" and "Mondazy") were dreamt up for "Being Dead". When you read my novels you are not simply witnessing a mirror held up to a genuine universe. Instead you are encountering an abstraction of the real world, of the kind you would find in traditional literature where invention triumphs over realism. So, for example, the minotaur in the Theseus legend is an entirely invented creature and has been concocted to teach you about an inflated moral dilemma and not about natural history. Thanks for being so nice about my work, by the way. But don't be intimidated by my lurking presence on this thread. I don't mind in the least if readers don't like my novels. Why should they? I don't take it personally. Go on, give me a hard time.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (17 of 60), Read 79 times Conf: Reading List From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 07:42 AM Welcome to Constant Reader. Believe me, no one was "being nice" about your book. There was a discussion here about it a year or so ago, and we said essentially the same thing. This time it's on our "official list" and I hope more people will read it. One question I had, was the process of decomposition partly made up, too? It seems so real that I wondered if you had to go visit scenes of death and decay for research. Sherry
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (18 of 60), Read 102 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 07:56 AM Hey, Jim! Welcome back! I'm curious. What was your publisher's reaction when you told him you were writing a book about decomposition? This is the scenario that keeps running thru my mind... Pub:"Hi, Jim..Got that new book going yet?" Jim:"Sure do, Pub!" Pub:"Good, good! Glad to hear it, Jim. What's it about?" Jim:"Well, it's about the decomposition of two bodies, after a husband and wife have had their heads bashed in while having sex." Pub:"Oh. Heh, heh...interesting premise." Jim:"I thought so too, Pub. I invent all these bugs that eat the bodies as they rot in the heat." Pub:" I see. Er, sort of like the old ' worms crawl in, worms crawl out' routine?" Jim:"Yes, Yes! You got it, Pub!" All kidding aside now, what was your publisher's reaction when you told him about the subject matter of this novel? Did it raise any eyebrows, or was any hesitancy expressed at all? Or, at your level of success, are you pretty much given a free hand, a carte blanche, sort of thing? (This all reminds me of a joke where a man finds and digs up Mozart's grave. When he opens the coffin, he's amazed to find Mozart sitting at a little table, erasing notes from a musical score. The man shouts, "Mozart! It's really you!!" Mozart, obviously irritated, says, "Leave me alone! Can't you see I'm decomposing?") Beej Btw, I just read in your homepage that you have a new book coming out this Spring! I'm so glad to hear that!
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (19 of 60), Read 85 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 12:11 PM Mr. Crace, thank you so much for dropping by. It is gracious of you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview of you by Robert Birnbaum, which I stumbled across after finishing this novel. You articulately addressed issues to which I have given a good deal of thought myself in my own fumbling way. Most particularly, I admired your discussion of the bleakness of atheism and your honest admission of envy of the comfort that religion provides, patently false though it may be. You describe this novel as an attempt at an atheist's "narrative of comfort in the face of death." You also said this: I don't ever have a reader's experience of my books. I don't know how they appear to people. Some one coming to it fresh...like you read it finished...I never read it finished. When I think back on the opening chapter, I remember the twelve versions, I don't remember the one version. And I can't remember which one ended up. As one with a reader's experience of this novel, I must tell you that you have succeeded in your endeavor in a way that I would not have thought possible before. The whole concept of geologic time (my own shorthand term) can be a frighteningly bleak son-of-a-bitch, as I am sure you know. However, this novel manages to turn all that on its head. The book does indeed do a little toward rendering into a comforting narrative the true state of affairs in which we find ourselves. And you're so right. It is a story that is far grander than the deal about the six days of creation with the next day off. That's one reader's reaction anyway. You and I have now entered into a new business relationship akin to the one I have with my bartender. You write 'em, and I'll buy 'em. How's your mum doing? Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (21 of 60), Read 83 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 12:27 PM My mum's almost 90, Steve, and as fit as a flea though losing her memory. She moved up to Birmingham from London about 15 years ago and so is only a short hop from our house. Just as well. I hope that you are right when you say that Being Dead does provide an alternative narrative of comfort for those of us who don't believe in god but are not looking forward to death. But I fear that the comfort is only a philosophical comfort. No narrative, religious or otherwise, can provide much cheer when our time is up.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (20 of 60), Read 77 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 12:20 PM I didn't research the decomposition of human bodies, Sherry. I'm far too squeamish and lazy for that. I simply transferred and borrowed what I'd already observed about dead animals which I've encountered on my many treks and added in some imaginative magic. It wasn't hard. We're familiar with death. We're surrounded by animal cadavers. We only notice them when they're human. Kids on the beach looking for seashells are filling their buckets with the remains of dead creatures. And there's nothing ghoulish about that. My publishers are always appalled by what I promise to do in my books, Beej, but they don't interfere. They're happy with the sales. I think they now be disappointed if I turned in a novel which wasn't bizarre. And, by the way, my new novel, Genesis, is due out in the spring of 2003 not 2002. Don't hold your breath.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (22 of 60), Read 78 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 12:47 PM Only a philosophical comfort? That is quite something and sufficient after all for those left behind--the ones who need it. It has been my experience that the one doing the dying is so busy dealing with that process that the vicar's visits are merely annoying interruptions. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (23 of 60), Read 82 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 12:55 PM I agree with that, Steve. I suspect, though, that there are some deeply entrenched believers who are so certain of paradise that they are almost ready to welcome and embrace death. For them the scriptures will offer more that "only philosophical" comfort and might, indeed, remove fear of death altogether. I'd rather keep my fear though, if the price for losing it is an abandonment of rational humanism. Now less serious matters beckon, as I have a game of tennis to play. I'll be back later. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (24 of 60), Read 80 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 01:08 PM Yes. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade for example. Tennis is much more serious than this. Go live in the moment for awhile. And thank you again for coming around for a chat. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (25 of 60), Read 76 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 02:09 PM Ah but not all who hold to religious belief hold to the idea that death is not to be feared. WOW -- I have other business in life this evening but I will be back and try to make sense here. It is wonderful to have you here, Jim Crace, welcome! And may I say that Beej will not be the only one sorry to hear that next book is still an entire year away -- even though I have many of your works yet to read. I am certain I'll be finishing them one after the other! Dottie The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. Emily Dickinson
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (26 of 60), Read 71 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 02:16 PM Dottie, I think Jim's point was that those who hold to religious beliefs are those least likely to fear death, that religion has that ability to comfort. Jim, I'll be back later with another post. Just wanted to tell you that this is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. Beautifully crafted, beautifully thought out, beautifully plotted. A winner. Ruth Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (27 of 60), Read 90 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 02:47 PM Jim, thanks for your reply to my question. Though I won't hold my breath, I do look forward to reading your book, whenever it's released. I just had lunch with Msgr. Chester Michael, who has a PhD in Theology and is the author of four books on faith, and we talked about the various themes of atheism, faith, and death, among other things. Does faith allow for an easier acceptance of death? Of course it does! But, this novel deals with the PHYSICAL aspects of death and does not conflict with faith at all, I don't think. One has nothing to do with the other, in my opinion. I agree with Ruth..this book is beautifully crafted. And, despite what anybody's personal beliefs might be, it's a fascinating journey. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (28 of 60), Read 71 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 03:58 PM But Beej, you'll probably disagree with me, but I think the point of this book is that death is purely and only a physical thing. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (29 of 60), Read 70 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 04:05 PM Jim: Thanks for visiting Constant Reader again. A question, if I might...I can't think of another writer I've read (with the possible exception of E.L. Doctorow) whose novels are such distinct universes unto themselves, i.e. virtually no resemblance from one to another. I'm curious to know (a) if you agree with my assessment, and if so, (b) is this quality of your fiction something that you consciously strive for, to any extent, or is it just the way things have turned out? Also...is there a fiction writer you admire whose work is not as widely known as it should be, and whom we Constant Readers should check out? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (30 of 60), Read 80 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 04:20 PM Good questions, Dale! I'd like to hear what authors Mr. Crace would recommend. Ruth, actually I agree with you completely, death is purely and only a physical thing, which is why I think this book doesn't have any bearing, whatsoever, on faith. Faith or no faith, dead bodies decay. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (31 of 60), Read 71 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 05:07 PM Right up front, I might as well say, that this book articulates beautifully what my own conviction is. The only immortality we have is that matter is neither created nor destroyed, just recycled, in an endless and fascinating loop, beautiful in its complexity. I mentioned something earlier about the themes of death, sex, and love in this book. Festa dies at the moment Celice and Joseph begin their love, and have their first sexual encounter. Syl rushes home because something may have happened to her parents and the first thing she does is have sex with Geo. Festa’s death is revisited just before Joseph and Celiece die. And then there’s Joseph’s hand on Celice’s ankle, a symbol of love that continues after death, but not for long. These themes are linked and cross-linked throughout the book. Is it because sex and death are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end for all of us? And where does love come in all of this? Could you elaborate a bit on this, Jim? Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (32 of 60), Read 70 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 05:19 PM Enjoying reading many of the comments here. I like a lot of the contrasts in this book...like Nancy, I found the main couple unlikable people...yet they became more human and beautiful in death. And despite the couples dry life, I found the novel made me want to keep reading and experiencing the book. I think it was Nancy who made the point about the daughter having a changing experience about her life or life once she had had this trauma of losing her parents. I felt as if this story has series of transformations...something religion has promised many people...but that may happen with religious passion... but transformation is the nature of living on earth, whether we notice it or feel the transformations happening. Transformation happens. For the atheist or religious (or gnostic or agnostic etc) alike. It has so very little to so with our acknowledgement of it or not. I found the time changes and flashbacks added to the way that this book is written like a myth, or in the tradition of myths. I believe it is partly this quality that makes this novel one that will stand the test of time(and language and realism). I felt sad for this couple because they seemed to be of the breed who does not notice how precious life is, how precious each other and our relationships are...they became more alive after death, than during their own career obsessed lives. I found it interesting that they seemed so unconnected to the world and nature...they were intellectually involved with nature and life...that is until their death and decay connected them. I was truck by this because of the daughters memory of her parents taking her to the beach, and she played alone while they struck out to do their "research" on the beach. the daughter felt unconnected to her parents, and their unconnectedness to their life, and life had a trickle down effect on their family/child. Its not the daughter was some kind of a hero, she had a lot of bitterness, true, but I felt she may have recognized the nature of transformation and connectedness of life through her parents death. The well-loved ankle touching segment reminded me of Michalangelos painting of Adam and God reaching for each other in the Sistine Chapel...and I felt as if the husband had acknowledged how connection is all we really have with each other, it may have been late...but better late than never? The parallel of the Michalangelo painting seemed to say to me, that connecting with god is as difficult as it can be in our intimate relationships here on earth-or the other way around heh heh if you like. This couple had such a dry sad marriage...I felt some kind of action finally hit the husband. I feel that their marriage/family life showed how intellectualism does not guarantee knowledge of life or passion...but connecting and feeling may give us knowledge...and sometimes all we can do is witness change, nature, life-and there is more of an opportunity for a passionate connection than through academic and intellectual quests. ??? Well, that was my take on the parallels and events of this novel. At least for the moment. Hey Jim, charmed to read your comments here. I was especially inspired by the idea of inventiveness triumphs realism. Or more or less what you said regarding that, heh heh. I can dig that. And it plays a little into how I view art and literature, and much of this novel. Hope you kicked some ass in that tennis game. All, love and peace and heres to hand-holding and touching while still up and kicking. Candy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (33 of 60), Read 67 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 05:30 PM Ruth, we posted at the same time...and I just saw your post about sex and death. Without suggesting one reads the novel Crash(or sees the notorious film version) I would say that when we come face to face with death, we want to feel alive...and grab for it. You reminded me of this comparison between Crash and Being Dead just now that had crossed my mind the first time I read Being Dead. In the novel Crash, people after having experienced violent accidents find themselves well, horny. When director David Cronenberg was preparing to make the movie version he thought he would go and talk to some psychologists and see if there how far out this idea of J.G.Ballard was. It turned out that this mental health facility said they got about three people a week coming in feeling guilty about this sensation! A few years ago my boyfriend and I went to the midway. It was also during an airshow, which we go to watch at least annually as we both love aircrafts and flying. We also planned on going on all the rollercoasters after the airshow. Sadly, the Nimrod on display came across Lake Ontario, and dove into the lake right in front the spectators. It seemed to simply disappear into the lake. Then all the air filled with jetfuel. We were so sad, and we wandered away from the cancelled show and ran to see what rescue was being attempted. Anyways, several crew died. there was no way we felt like being at the midway, or jumping into little pieces of metal to fling us around. We said, lets go get a drink. And then we did, and then we had sex. It wasn't like we said lets do this or intellectualized, hey lets seize the day...it was only later we kind of noticed our behaviour. Anyway, I know you asked Jim a technical question, sorry to interrupt with my anecdote As you were...
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (34 of 60), Read 73 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 05:38 PM One of the quotes on the back of my copy of Being Dead is from Ruth Scurr, London Times, in which she says the book is a "meditation on death to set alongside John Donne's famous sonnet, Death be Not Proud." For those of you interested in reading DBNP, I've posted it in the Poetry Conference. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (35 of 60), Read 76 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 08:57 PM I have not further questions for Mr. Crace, which is just as well since there are plenty here now. Dottie and Beej, let's call a spade a spade here. This is in no way, shape, or form a religious novel. Moreover, the whole thesis of it actively subverts religion. I don't see any other way to read it, and I was delighted as a result. Later, I will throw up a few of my favorite passages to illustrate. (One is the very last sentence, a perfect reversal of "everlasting life.") In the meantime please don't try to co-opt it and take it from me. Y'all have oodles of redemptive, religious books for yourselves. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (36 of 60), Read 79 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 09:03 PM I agree. This is not a religious book. I never took it to be such. I just didn't think it had any great bearing on faith, per se, one way or the other. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (37 of 60), Read 79 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 09:10 PM The world's small, breathing denizens, its quaking congregations and its stargazers, were fools to sacrifice the flaring briefness of their lives in hopes of paradise or fears of hell. No one transcends. There is no future and no past. There is no remedy for death--or birth--except to hug the spaces in between. Live loud. Live wide. Live tall. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (38 of 60), Read 82 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 09:22 PM You win. I was wrong. There's no debating that. But, I have to say, as a whole, the book did not present any earth shaking bearing on faith. As I said before, faith or no faith, bodies rot. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (39 of 60), Read 90 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 09:32 PM On that proposition, Beej, we in most harmonious agreement. And please understand that I do not intend to offend anyones here who believes differently than I. More power, I say. As for myself, I will simply have to follow H.L. Mencken's advice. If upon my demise I find myself in the dock before St. Peter and five archangels, I will simply throw up my hands and say, "Gentlemen, I was mistaken!" However, I will now be able to add this: "But I didn't write a novel that incorporated this error and sold by the thousands. Watch out for Jim Crace. He's not far behind me." Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (40 of 60), Read 96 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 09:45 PM Yes, I think we agree insofar that faith is a very, very personal choice. I believe interpretation of fiction is, too. Maybe it would have been more acceptable to you if I had said that I think this novel transcends belief or nonbelief. FOR ME, it was a very small part of the book. I enjoyed the book tremendously, not only for the beauty of the words, but for it's awesome telling of the physical 'life-feeds-on-death-supplies-life,' and so on, and so forth, cycle. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (41 of 60), Read 77 times Conf: Reading List From: Jane Niemeier jniemeie@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 10:08 PM Jim, Thank you for joining us. This is the first of your novels that I have read, and I know that I will be reading others. I found it interesting that we learned the details of the beginning and the end of the love between Joseph and Celice. There weren't many details of what happened in between. Other than the appearance of Syl, I have the feeling that the middle of their love story wasn't very noteworthy. I found the story of the fire to be fascinating. Celice could not get over her guilt, even though she confessed to her negligence. This whole episode made Celice a bit more approachable, I thought. I guess that there isn't a question in this post. I am thinking on line. Jane
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (43 of 60), Read 75 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 10:54 PM Steve, I am with you 110%. A number of people have said they didn't find Joseph and Celine likeable at all. I did. I found them likeable because they were flawed. Like most of us, they muddled along in their own way, achieving no great heights, screwing up, going around with their heads wrapped around their particular bit of territory. Very human. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (44 of 60), Read 78 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 12:51 AM Ruth, I am flawed. 110%. Thats not why they were unlikeable to me. They were unlikeable because they were the walking dead. Finally, in death,they started to live.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (45 of 60), Read 80 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 01:25 AM What is it about them that makes you say they were the "walking dead?" Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (42 of 60), Read 56 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 10:33 PM I find this idea to be rather specious. I personally have seen many people who are deeply religious deal very poorly with death. I am a physician, but aside from that I also know a number of atheists/agnostics who are quite comfortable with the idea of death, so I don't think this is quite valid. Ditto for those who believe in reincarnation--they seem the best at handling death issues. Nancy ----- Original Message ----- From: readReadingList Listmanager To: Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 2:14 PM Subject: Being Dead by Jim Crace > From: "R Bavetta" > > Dottie, I think Jim's point was that those who hold to religious beliefs are those least likely to fear death, that religion has that ability to comfort. > > Jim, I'll be back later with another post. Just wanted to tell you that this is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. Beautifully crafted, beautifully thought out, beautifully plotted. A winner. > > Ruth > Ruth > > > To reply: mailto:readReadingList.364816@webboardhost.com > To start a new topic: mailto:readReadingList@webboardhost.com > To login: http://webboardhost.com:8080/~reader/ >
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (46 of 60), Read 57 times Conf: Reading List From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 03:13 AM Welcome, Nancy, it's about time we had a doctor in the house. And thank you, Jim, for paying us a visit. I just finished Being Dead. It reminded me of "Sex and the Origins of Death", a non-fiction book I posted about here a couple of years ago. I think the author's name is Lewis - he is a medical doctor and among other things sets out for the reader what is happening to us at a cellular (is that word?) level during a heart attack, or while suffering from cancer. Wonderful book, highly recommended, and based on actual investigation of actual dead and dying bodies. Anyway, the upshot is, as Crace also points out in BD, if we had stuck to mitosis we would live forever. In my former life as a dilettante archaeologist I dug out quite a few, very ancient, graves. It was always affecting to see the bones emerge, no matter how long ago life had fled; whether babies and fetuses buried without apparent ceremony in the foundations of ancient dwellings, or adults carefully disposed with jars and capes and jewelry, sprinkled with ocher. I can understand those who object to this disturbance, not to mention the warehousing of skeletons by museums and other institutions for "scientific" purposes. I enjoyed Being Dead; but not as much as the other two Crace creations I've read. I agree with Dale, each Crace book I've read has a life of its own, wholly independent from the others. A kind of disembodied body of work, so to speak. Jim, I think the reasons you give for mixing supposition with fact are good ones, but it was jarring for me when items I simply knew could not be true intruded into the story, and made me spend too much time wondering what was fact and what was fiction elsewhere. It made the book less lyrical for me. Although I suppose I'd be even more distracted by an author who had over-researched, and felt obliged to share the results with us in tedious detail. So maybe less is actually more. Theresa Whatever is about to topple, knock it down. Frodo? Heck no, Neitzsche.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (47 of 60), Read 57 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 09:48 AM I turn my back on CR for an hour or so of humiliation on the tennis court at the hands of a man half my age only to find on my return that the postings are log jamming. I'll do my best to make some general points which will (sort of) cover the specific questions. OK, the main debate. Is BD a religious book, a novel about faith, a debunker of religion, etc? The point I want to make is that even though god does not exist, the things that make people believe in god -a hunger for explanations, the awesome power of the universe, fear of death, etc- do exist. A superstitious, sentimental atheist such as me might well sound like a fully fledged theist when writing about the grand mysteries. We're both asking the same questions but simply coming up with different answers. Only one of us is right. Is it faith, or is it science? Place your bets.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (49 of 60), Read 59 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 09:58 AM Dale wanted to know about my "distinct universes." He's right. I consciously contrive them but only in the same way that a yachtsman consciously controls his boat. For all his conscious control his yacht wouldn't go anywhere without the wind and the ocean currents. It would be a foolish yachtsman who claimed any control over those! (End of today's appalling metaphor.) So, the writing for me is an odd mixture of unbending control and total abandonment. Dale also wanted to know what writers Constant Readers should check out. Well, don't take my advice. But if pressed I'd nominate Italo Calvino as the writer I'd choose to be (if I couldn't be Toni Morrison or Grace Paley.) Calvino's "Invisible Cities" is my desert island book. And it's short.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (50 of 60), Read 62 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:01 AM Three recent favourites from current writers are a novel, "The Hunter" by Julia Leigh, and two works of non-fiction, "The Song of the Dodo" by David Quammen and "The Talmud and the Internet" by Jonathan Rosen. Only two of these are short.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (52 of 60), Read 62 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:20 AM Ruth wants me to elaborate on the dance of sex and death, those far flung biological promptings which seem to underscore so much of what we do and what we are. "Where does love come in to it?" she asks. Well, I won't tell you just yet - as that's the exact subject of my next novel, "Genesis." (For once my publishers are pleased with my subject matter.) Thanks to Ruth, Jane, Beej, Theresa, Nancy, Candy, Steve for your high octane postings about the lovability or otherwise of Joseph and Celice, the importance of faith, etc. I have nothing more intelligent to say than you, so I'll say nothing...except, perhaps, to wonder why Theresa expects/prefers novels to be powered by facts. Many are, of course, but most of the world's fiction is just that, Fiction. Made up. Stories. Somebody said (or should have said) "Newspapers present The Truth, but the best novels provide Truths."
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (48 of 60), Read 59 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 09:54 AM Thanks for the welcome, Theresa! I am very glad to be here and this is =turning into a great discussion. I have to tell you, however, that as =soon as I opened this message my anti-virus program said it was =infected. It couldn't fix it, so I had to quarantine it. Do you have an =anti-virus program on your computer? If so, you better run it now and =see if it can clean it up. Just thought you and everyone else should =know.And again, thanks for the welcome. I am on my way to Atlanta today =(6 hour drive) so I may be out of pocket for a few days. In the =meantime, I am going to re-read some of Jim's book so I can make further =comments. Also, I am going to look for his others. Good time to go =shopping! Nancy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (51 of 60), Read 58 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:16 AM Jim: Italo Calvino...yes! (Gosh, you've got good taste.{G}) Absolutely magical writing, and alongside INVISIBLE CITIES on that pinnacle is my copy of COSMICOMICS. Wise and bizarre and child-fresh and often funny as hell. I will definitely seek out the other authors you recommend. Thanks, >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (53 of 60), Read 45 times Conf: Reading List From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 12:18 PM QUESTION: Theresa said: I enjoyed Being Dead; but not as much as the other two Crace creations I've read. I agree with Dale, each Crace book I've read has a life of its own, wholly independent from the others. A kind of disembodied body of work, so to speak. ? Given the pronounced differences in Crace stories, do those who have read more than one find an "author's voice" - a style or personality apart from a developed outlook on life ? And HI! Jim. Thanks for being here. pres I couldn't have liked it more.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (54 of 60), Read 50 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 12:27 PM Ruth, why do I think they are the walking dead? Well... For example,I guess I personally enjoy giving more to my relationships than they did. If that was a "good marriage" I'll take single any day. And I guess I enjoy putting and sharing more energy into a cup of coffee too. But thats because I have a pulse. Hey, different strokes for different folks. I happen to feel that the difference in energy between their life and death was a large part of what fascinated me about the novel. I think it was part of the accomplishment of why the novel didn't resort to sentimentality regarding the deaths of the two main characters.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (55 of 60), Read 38 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 12:45 PM Defintely no sentimentality, Candy. And I agree that it's a great strength of the novel. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (56 of 60), Read 40 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 01:56 PM Yes, I think we agree insofar that faith is a very, very personal choice. I believe interpretation of fiction is, too. You're so right, Beej. Perhaps I was sounding a bit confrontational about my own interpretation. Actually, I was simply trying to articulate it strongly. I'm going to start using emoticons. Let me try 'em now. (-: (-: (-: (-: (-: (-: The passage I quoted above was one of Syl's thoughts. I found her an interesting character. Her story addressed something that Updike has alluded to--the burden of perfect parents. (I use the word "perfect" advisedly, I admit.) She experienced a great sense of exhilaration and new found freedom as a result of her parents' deaths, parents whom I found to be essentially good and decent people. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (57 of 60), Read 36 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 02:08 PM Pres asks, Given the pronounced differences in Crace stories, do those who have read more than one find an "author's voice" - a style or personality apart from a developed outlook on life? Excellent question, Pres. I'm guessing an academic could find unifying elements in Crace's authorial voice, cross-novel, that I can't. As for myself, the only common threads I see are a refreshing openness to experience, both lived and imaginary, plus a graceful and articulate style that adapts itself, almost chameleon-like, to the emotional tone required by a particular story. For example, if I had read BEING DEAD by Jim Crace one week, and Crace's wonderful novel QUARANTINE the next week, under a different name, it would never have occurred to me to think, "Gosh, these sound like the same guy"...but rather, "Damn, these guys are both good!" >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (58 of 60), Read 32 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 02:38 PM One of the facets of the composition of the book that I thought worked very well to the point of being masterful was the time lapse revisits to the day of the deaths. These were in reverse chronological order. The book started with the murders. Then we moved back earlier in that day as the book progressed until at the end we are presented with the events of the couples' arising that morning. Nice touch. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (59 of 60), Read 13 times Conf: Reading List From: Mary Anne Papale mapreads@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 08:58 PM Exactly, Steve. I wanted to say something about that too. The day of death goes backwards in the narration, while the bodies keep decomposing. Jim, how did you decide to use this marvelous technique? Can one desire too much of a good thing? - W. Shakespeare MAP
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (60 of 60), Read 7 times Conf: Reading List From: Lee Clark leilia_c@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 09:10 PM I thought Joseph was sentimental and he did have a deep love for his wife. Theirs may not have been a relationship of great moments, but a relationship that grew into itself day by day, a symbiosis, with the secrets of humanity we learn through our mates. “Here was the splendid truth that so many men discover far too late, but he had known for years. He could be young and foolish only with his wife.” I became, shall I say maudlin, of the idea of many years with the same man, a man who has “learned the trick” to catch “stolen glimpses” of his wife and to wish to “there and then to pass his body down the sleeve and press his lips into her shadows and her silhouettes. ” Oh, one could consider them self “blessed” to have such a man. Leilia
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (61 of 111), Read 184 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:05 PM And I loved it that a couple of old farts, who in truth were younger than I am, got caught out in the dunes with their pants down. There was fire yet. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (62 of 111), Read 188 times Conf: Reading List From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 02:13 AM Jim, no, I don't prefer fact-based books. I like just about every type of book, except those few that I don't. I liked Being Dead, but the context was the issue here for me. I didn't have the impression you were using the natural decomposition of the bodies as a metaphor in and of itself; rather as a basis for a larger metaphor. And thus, for me, the whimsical bits proved distracting. Nancy, I'm trying to figure out if the virus could have come from my computer. If I post through the web board, I'd think any virus would originate here - it's not like I'm sending an email when I post, even if you receive posts via email. But maybe I'm wrong. Has anyone else gotten a virus message (from one of my post or just in general?) Theresa Whatever is about to topple, knock it down. Frodo? Heck no, Neitzsche.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (63 of 111), Read 186 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 05:07 AM Good day, Constant Readers. It's been a weird night in England. April snow, then bouncing hale stones the size of peas. This morning -walking the dog- mud mud mud. On the subject of my novels each being so different that you'd think they were the product of several writers rather than just one. Well, yeah, I take your point, Theresa, Pres, Steve, Dale et al. The settings and subject matters are indeed pretty varied. That's because I'm in no way an autobiographical writer constantly mining the seam of my own life for material. But every one of my novels, I think, has an easily recognizable footprint. Working inwards from the little toe, the five main digits of recognition are 1) a heightened use of landscape, sometimes as a "character"; 2) settings which are not to be found on any map, but are entirely invented; 3) a moralistic rather than an ironic tone; 4) highly "purposeful" and schematic plots which address the subject matters unremittingly; and 5) -the big toe- all of the preceding written in rhythmic, percussive prose. Or am I just kidding myself?
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (64 of 111), Read 186 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 05:12 AM Oh, by the way, those five toes listed above are also the five good reasons why many readers hate my books. The thrumming prose gives them a headache. The invented settings baffle and dislocate them unnecessarily. They find the moralizing tedious. And why should my novels be so rigidly schematic when real life is chaotic and random. It's a point of view which I respect, but I don't and can't change my ways. You have to sing with the voice you've been given.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (65 of 111), Read 186 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 05:26 AM Another by-the-way. I am sympathetic to Theresa's reservations about the book. I'm not surprised when readers are distracted by my whimsies and digressions, and by my self-indulgent playfulness. I could be less irritating if I were to pay more attention to my readers while I was writing. But -this is a dreadful confession- I hardly ever think about readers at all. I just sit in my converted garage next to our house and engage with the thing on the computer screen, hoping that it will startle me, entertain me, hoping that it will abandon me even. I'm writing for myself, I guess. Maybe that's another reason why I am not an autobiographical writer. What can I tell myself about myself that I don't already know and am not already bored with?
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (66 of 111), Read 186 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 05:27 AM Steve, Mary Anne, Dale and others have mentioned the backward running structure of one strand in "Being Dead". Why use it? 1) Because at the point of death atheists cannot look for comfort in forward running time. The only comfort available is that to be found in the past, in the life already lived. 2) Because the backward running trick allowed me to fly in the face of usual narrative convention in which a story "unfolds". In "Being Dead", Joseph and Celice are first encounterd at their most exposed, naked, murdered on the beach. Then time rewinds and they are placed safely back in their waking beds. The narrative "enfolds" them. I guess that just about wraps it up.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (67 of 111), Read 190 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 06:32 AM Attn: Steve Warbasse (warbasse) So much to think on! STEVE - While I will have reference elsewhere to your analysis and commentary on this book, I must first address a response to your POST #35 to which I did definitely take some offense. "Dottie and Beej, let's call a spade a spade here. This is in no way shape or form a religious novel....In the meantime please don't try to co-opt it and take it away from me. Y'all have oodles of redemptive, religious books for yourselves." Scanning the thread carefully, I found nothing prior to this post in which either Beej or I indicated that Being Dead was in any way a religious novel. Yet by the very fact that Jim Crace has in statements which you generously shared here clearly indicated the intentional approach from the atheistic viewpoint I would argue that the book is given a religious bias. Granted that the bias is against rather than for the religious view, it thus contains a religious element as in "the other side of the coin." Even had either of us or any one of us asserted this to actually be a religious novel, I fail to see how this would allow us to 'co-opt' this or any other non-religious book or to take anything away from you or any other reader. I rather resented your presumption that because a reader who reads religious/religion based writing (and given my record here most CRs are aware that I do read these)whether fiction, fact-based fiction or non-fiction they should then leave books as challenging, thought-provoking and beautifully written as this Crace volume strictly for those readers who approach from a non-believing point of view. CR as applied to this particular constant reader does not specify that I am only a CR of religious based works any more than it should specify that you read only non-religious based works. CR is about reading widely, broadening one's acceptance, thinking and connections with others who while they share many traits as fellow humans are most often widely differing in thinking on any given book or topic -- thus do discussions evolve. Steve, I will not allow you to co-opt Crace's book nor take it away from readers who approach life from a basis in religious faith any more than I would dream of trying to co-opt it and take it from you and others who approach from the basis of non-belief or questioning. Relative to this, I fully believe that the actual or perceived religious or non-religious content/nature of Being Dead or of any book is of far less importance than is the religious or non-religious beliefs with which a reader approaches reading whatever book he may choose. Innumerable times here on CR we have moved from a discussion of a book which seems to have little apparent religious basis or content into these same larger issues of religion and spirituality; intellectualism, mind and reason; and the realm of so-called pure science. Having said all of this -- I will grant that Beej in her Post#36 response was perhaps more succinct -- but I had to clarify for myself the impact the blow which your comment dealt. Hopefully nothing here will be construed in any way as a roadblock to this continuing discussion. Dottie "Your thorns are the best part of you." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (68 of 111), Read 190 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 07:21 AM Since this relates specifically to what I just said to Steve I am going to address Mr.Crace's Post #47 also. OK, the main debate. Is Being Dead a religious book, a novel about faith, a debunker of religion, etc? I feel this is not or at least should not be a main debate here for as I said above to Steve the idea of a religious vs. a non-religious book seems contrary somehow to the fact that what may speak to a reader as religious or not stems as much from what that reader brings with him to any given book as it does from the actual or perceived religious content of that work. A person with a deeply held religious belief will bring that belief to this book and either run in horror decrying the ideas put forth on beauty and comfort without religion in the face of death or he will find within this book, as I do, some meeting ground for his own beliefs and the thinking of those who are non-believers or questioners. For me, this idea is one part of the great appeal of such books as Being Dead as well as Quarantine which I even recommended to one CR semi-regular for his annual Lenten Season reading list -- with the cautionary that it was not the usual Lenten/religious reading but would indeed provide a great deal of fruitful debate and discussion. It seems much more significant to me the degree of religious belief or the depth of non-belief which a reader brings to a book as opposed to the actual or perceived religious content of that book -- I know I'm repeating myself a bit there but I want to stress this differentiation. Off to martial my thoughts on other aspects of this increasingly delightful discussion. I most especially want to say thank you once again for your kind and generous input here, Mr. Crace. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (69 of 111), Read 190 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 08:21 AM RUTH -- As part of a response to comments from Steve, Crace said (Post#23): "...some deeply entrenched believers...might even, indeed, remove fear of death altogether." My own response to that particular segment of the quoted remark was hasty and unclear since I did not preface it by indicating my recognition of the existence of these "deeply entrenched believers"(some for me translates in this instance to few percentage wise but having recently read Armstrong's The Battle for God I am not that certain that these some are as few as would be good for mankind IMO). I do agree with this actually -- as these "some" have been numerically significant enough in our own experience as witnessed by such tragedies as Jonestown, which I purposely select when reflecting upon this aspect of religion as it has close ties to my own particular denominational association and I am still working out how my own faith history as I understand my denominations beliefs could possibly have evolved or rather mutated to that tragic end. I absolutely do not agree, Ruth, that this statement by Crace indicates only that believers are "those least likely to fear death" nor that it is only saying religion holds comfort for believers, though they/we/I would certainly/likely admit or profess that it does. I am left with the idea that not all believers are more apt to "welcome and embrace death" nor to face it without fear. And while I'm certain Nancy, as a physician has seen much more of it than I, I would also say that from personal experience with death I find the range of responses widely varied whether the person is religious or no-religious. Many vociferously self-professed deeply religious people do and say things in response to death which are in no way any more religious IMO that things which are said and done by many who are doubters or non-believers in the same instance. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (70 of 111), Read 158 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 11:40 AM Dear dear Dottie, I am sorry you are so upset by comments here. I don't like to see anyone get so frustrated, although you're right, it all makes for some exciting discussions and exploring ideas. One thing I feel is an important insight for all of us is the idea that whether someone is religious, not-religious, pagan, Judeo Christian, a realist, a logician, a dreamer, and atheist, or hey, a scientist... we all of us humans have minds that asks the same questions of life. These questions do not belong to one segment of culture over another. I have a couple of dear friends who are particle physicists. They don't believe in god. But all of their research and math and discussions are involved in the same pursuits and questions of the faithful. Why are we here, how long have we been here, who made the universe and why, what does one action mean compared to another, is there morality within nature etc etc. You get the drift. Every culture on earth, from Jews to Aztecs to Canadians(heh heh) to Native Americans to Christians to cannibals asks the same questions of life and struggles with where we reside in this world. We all have different answers and sometimes we have the same answers or the same very same abyss and void. Anyway, I always enjoy your passion Dottie, and I hope you are more excited than P.O.'d heh heh...and sometimes we all feel frustrated when we feel our voice and ideas are being marginalized, and if we feel that, its usually by an accident in communication, rather than intention...? Ah, literature, can't live with it, can't live without it... Candy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (71 of 111), Read 160 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 11:44 AM One thing that is kind of funny to me that the faithful and the atheist have in common, they each hope one day there will be proof of their side of the coin. Ha ha and any self respecting atheist and religious person should know by now, ha ha there ain't going to be any "proof" for either of their arguments. Cracks me up! Proof is personal and both the atheist and the religious depend on FAITH in these kind of discussions. What an irony! Candy who is sitting on the fence . Hey god sits on the fence, I figure I'm in good company.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (72 of 111), Read 161 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 12:08 PM Candy -- you are a dear -- I'm not upset -- I hoped I had voiced an opinion addressing and clarifying an issue -- not at all my intent to gripe or snipe there. Anyway -- your dismay gave me a smile (a good chuckle to be more precise). I intended to address your own input here -- I'm for the most part so in agreement with much of what you have said here on the thread -- heh --you and me in agreement to such a degree could be seen as dangerous I suppose{G}. BUT -- I'll leave it at this and post another note to you here later as I progress through my culling of the thread and my notes on the book. "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (73 of 111), Read 173 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, April 19, 2002 12:28 PM The reverse chronology accomplishes something else, also. As one reads about the events that occurred earlier in the day, of course one already knows what will happen later. This lends a fateful aura to those earlier events of the day. I could swear that there is a passage in here somewhere about fate. . .or all things in the universe set in advance. . .or something like that. But I can't find it. Maybe I read it somewhere else and juxtaposed it. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (74 of 111), Read 128 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Saturday, April 20, 2002 03:47 AM Candy -- I just registered in rereading your earlier post your mention of particle physics. From there to the decomposition of matter (our favorite main characters at the moment as they meld with the landscape for six days) is not a difficult leap --- at least I hope I'm not the only one who thinks that. The exchange of energy, shared particles is one that is etched in my thinking and which I thought of as I read Being Dead. I think I even mentioned up in the pre-discussion notes that I was being reminded of my favorite movie Mindwalk. For me much of this book is in the same category as that film -- informative (whether it is real information or made up -- how many creatures are real is not the point) and provoking reflection about where one actually stands in the natural order of things, what the standing means in relationship to what one has learned from his chronological historical place, his particular societal standing and the type of society in which he is living, and his specific learned or inherent make-up in relation to his immediate family. Things like how we deal with death -- whether it is how we deal with the natural process which Crace addresses or with the spiritual process which religions, spirituality or societal ceremonies address. Heh -- I do love this book. It's a new mindwalk -- and it's been a while since I'd encountered one anywhere near this quality -- well, if I ignore Quarantine, that is. No wonder I've decided I'm hooked on Crace's writing. I'm compelled to speak to the language and words as have many others already -- will be back when I have those thoughts in order. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (75 of 111), Read 116 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, April 20, 2002 01:33 PM Yeah, I find I do think of particles, whether in particle physics or in changes of matter when I think of death...and that parts of us are still being used even after we are gone. Hey it goes back to that triva that 2 percent of snow on tv is leftover from big bang. Thats why I think there is a kind of metaphoric logic behind the idea of reincarnation, immortality, life after "death", rebirth, psychic ability. Not that I have ever had those specific experiences but when you consider what happens after death, that we are all made of stars(as Moby might sing), or electricity and water...well these metaphors are not that farfetched. Candy "Instead you are encountering an abstraction of the real world, of the kind you would find in traditional literature where invention triumphs over realism." Jim Crace
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (76 of 111), Read 100 times Conf: Reading List From: Ian Marks comfortably_numb@ecosse.net Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 09:36 AM Just one practical question which left me going DUH!? for most of the novel. How comes it that an assailant is able to administer - what is it, seven? - blows to one spouse without the intervention of the other? IIRC, Celice was murdered first, then Joseph. Did I misread this part? Did hubby really sit back and await his turn? Or did Celice and Joseph get a blow each before being finished off? Apologies if I've missed something here, but this sort of niggly question tends to detract from my enjoyment of a novel. And - on a purely non-religious, non-spiritual note - I wanted to know who did it! That apart, I enjoyed the way the story of the murders unfolded backwards, and, like many of you, I agree that it would've been nice if J & C could have been buried naturally where they lay. Ian
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (77 of 111), Read 99 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 11:49 AM My impression was that he conked Celice with one blow and that did it, so he then could see to Joseph unobstructed, before he even realized what had happened. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (78 of 111), Read 95 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 02:45 PM Yes, but I do understand Ian's question -- I seem to be missing that hinge point also -- but I remember the emphasis on how many blows he gave to Celice even though she was essentially gone after the first one. I remember though that Celice made only a slight sound which Joseph did hear but took to be something which evidently he didn't turn to look at her. Perhaps that was why he didn't react and was just there for the man to strike next. Was there also something about how long it actually took all told -- it seems to me that the overall time elapsed was not that great. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (81 of 111), Read 95 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 04:24 PM Yes, it happened very quickly. Celice was dead 45 seconds after the =first blow. That is really a long time when something like this is going =on, but think about how long it takes you to say, go up a flight of =stairs, not really much less than that. (at least, not old, out-of-shape =me!) Nancy I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time…when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or = knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals =and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, = almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness." -- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (79 of 111), Read 95 times Conf: Reading List From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 02:51 PM Jim, I posted earlier but haven't been back because everyone else has very adequately posted my thoughts. However, I wanted to make sure that I commented on #4 on your list of consistent qualities in your writing. I love the connected quality of your plot, the fact that each thread was tied in the end. This must have been even more difficult in this one, given the unconventional structure. Did you use an outline form in the beginning or some other way to keep the organization going? Did the plot or the characters change as you developed them or did it stick pretty close, in the end, to your original ideas? Barb
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (80 of 111), Read 94 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 04:22 PM As I recall, Ian, the murderer caught them so by surprise that Joseph, =being out-of-shape, etc. couldn't get up fast enough to stop the guy =from hitting Celice 7 times. I would think you could get off a number of =blows like that one after the other if you had a solid footing and an =easy target. I believe that when he did get up, the murderer kicked him =in the groin or something and knocked him over anyway. That didn't =bother me much. I could see it happening. Nancy I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time…when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or = knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals =and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, = almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness." -- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (82 of 111), Read 94 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 05:45 PM As with the first Crace so this one -- I am certain I will be revisiting this book. I have some bits of the language which struck me as I read through -- one thing I felt somehow that there was a somewhat old-fashioned tone in places which for me felt and sounded so perfect for this book -- I'm not sure I really noted any examples which address that idea but here are a few segments I particularly liked. "At what point had the life - curmudgeonly, distracted, timid and thick-skulled - gone out of him." What a description tucked into that bit! And this from the period when Syl was calling the cell phone before the batteries faded: "If they would answer she was safe. If they did not, she'd have to turn the hourglass and let the sands run back toward (her) past." Rather poetic I felt. But the language of this book is wonderfully so throughout -- even when we are being treated to those innumerable gather ing creatures arriving at the scene -- it flows and describes and draws one on and on. Another from this cell phone section: "The moonlit bay was at the far end of the line. If only owls and bats could answer phones." And one of my favorite examples of the marvelously descriptive language: "...the wine-deep, sad, narcotic sea." What a wonderful evocation of the hypnotic pull of the sea. "The ocean had a thousand crafts." Another favorite was this in regard to that mythical cricket: "One's not enough. One never lasts." Powerful. Making that leap from the cricket to ourselves as humans is nearly instantaneous. And this on love: "Still love, placid love that only time can cultivate, a love preserved by habit and by memory." Someone else mentioned this one also, Barb, I believe: "The earth is practiced in the art of burial. It gathers round. It embraces and adopts the dead." "Everything was born to go. The universe has learned to cope with death." And this was an interesting twist on an old saying: "Hope springs eternal in the natural world." Well -- I could probably go back and find still more bits I'd noted but it is enough to say that the writing is compelling. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (83 of 111), Read 93 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, April 21, 2002 06:17 PM Just restoring the title to this thread. As you were. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (84 of 111), Read 72 times Conf: Reading List From: Jane Niemeier jniemeie@hotmail.com Date: Monday, April 22, 2002 09:48 PM Jim and all, I am very much enjoying this discussion. It is wonderful to have you here, Jim, to answer our questions. This thread has brightened my day of dealing with cantankerous teenagers. Jane
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (85 of 111), Read 69 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 07:05 AM I’ve been away for a few days enjoying the unusually warm weather which swept in after last week’s blizzards, and so have neglected my ConstantReading comrades. However, I see that the discussion has gone on quite merrily without the brooding and intimidating presence of The Author. I am beginning to recognise something that I have always suspected, that writers are not often the most helpful or insightful commentators on their own work. I note that the best observations about “Being Dead” have come from readers. The writer’s offerings have been panicky and superfluous. In the same way, I guess, actors are seldom enlightening when discussing their “intuitive” craft. I ought, therefore, to shut up and butt out. But it's all too tempting... Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (86 of 111), Read 69 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 07:07 AM ….I have particularly valued catching up on the animated spat between Steve, Beej, Candy and especially Dear Dottie in which important matters have been discussed with appropriate passion, respect and eloquence. It’s wonderful to see what reverberations a little novel can cause – though I suspect that Steve’s dangerous warning that believers should not “co-opt” “Being Dead” as a scriptural text was dispatched with more lightness and irony than it was received. Just to join the fray for a moment. Can I say that I don’t share Candy’s view that “Proof is personal and both the atheist and the religious depend on FAITH in these kind of discussions”? I think that there is plenty of evidence and of any amount of growing proof for the Darwinist, scientific explanation for the universe, whereas, for example, Christian teachings have never got it right once about the natural world. Not once. Faith has got nothing to do with it. What atheists and believers share is not faith but reverence. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (87 of 111), Read 69 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 07:09 AM Ian Marks has raised the interesting question of how Celice received seven blows to the head without the intervention of Joseph. “Did hubby really sit back and await his turn?” Seven blows can take as little as four seconds. I’ve tried it, though on a piece of wood not on a female biologist. I added a few seconds and wrote, “Seven piston blows in scarcely more than seven seconds. Purposeful, indeed.” Joseph “didn’t stand a chance…He hardly had the time to turn and check. Or stand…He was not agile. His impulses were slow. His reflexes were numb.” But he was “already twisted away from the attack and preparing to flee rather than throw himself between the granite and his wife” when the murderer kicked his head. All this in less than ten seconds. No inconsistency there. I suspect that Ian has confused the 45 seconds between the first blow and Celice’s death with the very few seconds it actually took to deliver those blows. In other words I plead not guilty and find Ian culpable of attention deficit disorder. He is sentenced to reading a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (88 of 111), Read 70 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 07:11 AM Barb was wondering whether or not I had an outline for the novel as I was writing. No, I fly by the seat of my pants, but I am on the look out for geometric shapes during the flight. I did not have a working plot just a narrative purpose. Syl, for example, arrived in the novel as a surprise to me. I let her infiltrate the story and find her natural place within it. Writing blind like this is scary but it is also a lot of fun. And I can always tidy up afterwards, once the surprises are over. Thanks, Dottie, for quoting those bits and pieces that you enjoyed. I hardly recognize them as my own. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (89 of 111), Read 67 times Conf: Reading List From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 08:46 AM Speaking of Syl...despite her feelings toward her parents, I saw a lot of Celice in Syl. I found it interesting, that of all the deaths in this book, not one was a natural death..we had the murders of Joseph and Celice, Festa's accidental death by fire, and the Academic Mentor's death by suicide. Interesting. Beej
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (90 of 111), Read 66 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 10:37 AM I also saw a lot of young Celice in Syl, though a much more updated version, so to speak. More in tune with the 21st. century. The wildness, the passion for sex, the impatience, the guilt as well. I am in the process of re-reading the book. I am enjoying much more the second time around and will post some more thoughts later. Nancy http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (91 of 111), Read 74 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 11:24 AM Thanks, Jim, for popping back in. I've enjoyed your comments a great deal. What atheists and believers share is not faith but reverence. Thanks for articulating something I knew at a gut level, but never really knew I knew. Very well put. Ack. You mean I've read this twice and I forgot that Celice got 7 blows, not one? Arrrgh. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (92 of 111), Read 74 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 12:15 PM Heh heh. Enjoyed these comments. Fair enough Jim that we see different similarities between atheists and believers. I still say they have faith in common. Faith without proof. A believer has faith there is a god without the kind of evidence an atheist demands. And an atheist has faith that there is no god without the kind of evidence a believer demands.Darwin doesn't disprove the existence of god. (what, aren't estimates of atheist population at 1% of world population?) Darwin and scientific exploration does seem to disprove historically correct notions within religious stories or Myths, but the power and magic of those stories has little to do with realism. And unless a faithful person could convince god to show up at the party, they are going to have a hard time convincing atheists of their experience. Ah, a good demonstration of both philosophies relying on faith is the movie Contact. As for reverence. Well, I am a bit of a dark cloud. I don't see very much reverence anywhere or by many folks in the world. But maybe I just didn't get enough sleep last night, heh heh.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (93 of 111), Read 67 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 12:26 PM I just ran across this quote from C.S. Lewis that seems to me apropos of what Jim accomplishes in BEING DEAD: "Literature does not merely describe reality; it adds to it." >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (94 of 111), Read 68 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 12:36 PM First, Mr.Crace -- you are most welcome though I hope your not recognizing these was not from some fault in my recording of the quotes. As I said I am sure I could find still more in my notes -- the library book goes back tomorrow so I had to have written records for reference! Secondly, Mr. Crace -- Thank you for your kindly observation on the slight brouhaha which I must admit I engendered here with my use of the word 'offense' rather than the more appropriate one perhaps -- 'exception'. I will add that Constant Reader is a place where we do feel comfortable enough to disagree and then change our respective minds and then proceed to disagree once more. All the while we know that it will most likely make no difference in the next discussion. Wonderful to return and find so many new thoughts here! I am reading through my notes yet again -- may be back with more. Nancy, I am almost tempted to renew not only the library book I've not finished but to renew Being Dead also and join you in this immediate rereading. I was asked for a recommendation for a book group discussion which of the two Crace works I have read to date would I -give first billing. I had to say Being Dead as I feel it evokes discussion of many of the same issues which are raised by Quarantine but also all these questions concerning where we are in terms of death in our cultures. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (95 of 111), Read 64 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 01:11 PM Actually the number of non-believers, agnostics, skeptics, humanists, etc. is growing all the time and I believe it is much more than 1%, though I can't quote a figure off the top of my head. I run into non-believers almost daily now with my internet experience. There are three right here in this group right now discussing this book! :-) No, they are not at all few in number. And I also think that we do demand a proof that believers do not. Their faith is all the proof they need. Anyway, I don't think it is going to be very worthwhile to discuss this thread here, although it does relate quite a bit to the book. I just had to respond to Cindy about the idea that we are few in number. I believe we outnumber one of the "mainstream" religions in the world, though again I can't remember which that is. Nancy http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (96 of 111), Read 65 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 01:33 PM Just housekeeping with the thread title. Ruth
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (97 of 111), Read 58 times Conf: Reading List From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 02:27 PM Nancy said: Their faith is all the proof they need. and given the discussion, I wonder if it would not be appropriate to interpolate or lack of faith. And Ruth: This sudden burst of house-keeping is most commendable. And now back to Being Dead. pres I couldn't have liked it more.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (98 of 111), Read 57 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 02:51 PM I guess I was not very clear. I meant that they, believers, need only faith as their proof. I wasn't referring to non-believers. Sorry to be so imprecise. :-). Nancy P.S. from this website email program I can't seem to put in subject lines. Sorry about that. I will have to see if I can fix that. http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (99 of 111), Read 56 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 02:51 PM . . .there and then to pass his body down the sleeve and press his lips into her shadows and her silhouettes. I must say, Leilia, that I liked that passage a lot, too. Ruthie, I think the Latin is Eros and Thanatos--sex and death, the stuff that fuels the plots of all our favorite operas. (Recently, I finally got to see a live performance of La Bohème. I was a little puddle at the end.) While Theresa has explained the science of the thing, the primal impact of the combination upon us is mysterious. Every major movement in this novel has to do with it. Joseph and Celice going out to the beach together while Festa dies. Their revisit to the beach and their own deaths. And notice that Syl trades sex for her transportation back home to her dead parents. I know you were enamored of the idea of this older couple getting it on in the outdoors, but I must say that sex on the beach is a much more appealing concept in the abstract than in the reality. I don't know how people do it. The sand, the bugs, and all that. Give me a nice golf green late at night any time. If it's hot, you can even get sprinkled if you like. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (100 of 111), Read 58 times Conf: Reading List From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 03:25 PM Nancy, I suspect that you may be using "Post." If you press on "Reply," instead of "Post," the system should complete the subject line for you. Dean All roads lead to roam.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (101 of 111), Read 54 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 03:45 PM "If its hot you can even get sprinkled if you like." Okay, well, I'm not touching that...although it's giving me insight into what people see in golf, as it sounds like there are all kinds of shots played on the course..
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (102 of 111), Read 51 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 04:02 PM Nancy, I don't really know an exact body count of atheists. I do remember reading that close to 90%(actually higher) of the world believes in god. There are humanists who believe in god, for example. I suspect there may be some kind of phenomenon that people who play with computers and on the internet may be more likely to be atheists...or atheists hang out in particular web board theme areas versus other web board activity. I find there is quite a pleasant mix of believers in god here and of non-believers in god here at Constant Reader. Has anyone done a survey? I am an athieist, although, calling myself that makes it sound like I have more interest in the topic than I actually do. By this, I mean, that having spent many years as a buddhist, god is virtually a non-issue in buddhism. The concept pro or con existence of god is felt to be an unproductive topic of conversation...and many people don't know this about buddhists, but they are avid debaters. In this one aspect of the religion I flourished...as for any of the more spiritual and practical aspects of buddhism, I was a miserable failure. I loved meditating, and still do, and making great big feasts of food with fellow buddhists (well for anybody!), but I just am violently opposed to religion FOR ME. heh heh. and here are some great words of wisdom from my foray into religion... Meeting without eating is cheating. Love and peace and sorry if I got off on another tangent, just wanted to respond to your post Nancy in some feeble way. Candy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (103 of 111), Read 44 times Conf: Reading List From: Lee Clark leilia_c@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 10:31 PM Joseph, in his last moments, worrying that his ledger would be washed away in the rain (or worse) found and read by strangers. So human…our fear of discovery of self. (either by others or even by ourselves). “They just wouldn’t understand!” “They would not appreciate the context of my words.” Or possibly worse...they would. Interesting idea, what are our last thoughts as we drift off to the nothingness. Are we thankful for a life well lived? Grateful for the time we had? Are there regrets; are there wishes unfulfilled? Do we wonder if we forgot to take out the trash? Or do we worry someone may find out who we really were? (For myself, barring god-awful pain, I want to be conscious up to the very end. I want to experience all of life to the final breakdown of the oxygen cycle…and of course, if “they” find out who I was really, no matter, I’m dead.) (but then I tell untruths, like Joseph, I do not want others to know who I really am). In Sherwin B. Nuland’s “How we Die” he writes, “…there is often a serenity---sometimes even a dignity---in the act of death, but rarely in the process of dying.” “Ars moriendi is ars vivendi: The art of dying is the art of living.” Leilia
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (104 of 111), Read 45 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 10:55 PM Leilia: I keep meaning to read Nuland's book...you quote from it... “…there is often a serenity---sometimes even a dignity---in the act of death, but rarely in the process of dying.” Until I can read Nuland, could you tell me in brief how he distinguishes semantically between death and dying? Is death the "natural" and biological process, and "dying" the human conciousness's realization of how close death is, or is it (as I suspect) all far more complex than that? In any event, I've got Nuland on my list to read very soon. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (105 of 111), Read 46 times Conf: Reading List From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 11:48 PM Wow, Jim, I would never have thought that you wrote this without some sort of an outline. It has such a rational construction to it. And, please continue to pop in. We talk all of the time among ourselves (and I haven't found better book group talk anywhere) but we seldom get to hear from the author him/herself. It's a treat. Barb
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (106 of 111), Read 45 times Conf: Reading List From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 02:23 AM Well, Dr. Lewis explained the science, Steve, I just read about it. My point was that the point of this here book ain't the science, but all that other good stuff; so why bother to play with the science? Theresa Whatever is about to topple, knock it down. Frodo? Heck no, Neitzsche.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (107 of 111), Read 33 times Conf: Reading List From: Ian Marks comfortably_numb@ecosse.net Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 03:34 PM >>I plead not guilty and find Ian culpable of attention deficit disorder. He is sentenced to reading a novel by Sir Walter Scott.<< Ouch! {g} Ian
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (108 of 111), Read 15 times Conf: Reading List From: Lee Clark leilia_c@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 09:45 PM Leilia Nuland wrote, …”characteristics that are representative of certain universal processes that we will all experience as we are dying. The stoppage of circulation, the inadequate transport of oxygen to tissues, the flickering out of brain function, the failure of organs, the destruction of vital centers---these are the weapons of every horse man of death.” As my succinct consort stated, “death is the finished state when dying is completed.” The line, “grief is death eroticized” is a somewhat obscure idea, but interesting to contemplate. I doubt if many would say grieving is erotic, but grief is at times expressed in displays of sexual behavior. The yearning for that feeling of “I am living,” to be without thoughts, to be in the moment… and as a process of evolution, sex is the begetting of new life, our purpose…so the natural order, one life ends, and another begins (barring birth control, that is..)
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (109 of 111), Read 15 times Conf: Reading List From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 10:05 PM I chanced to come across a traditional folk song today that contains the line, What life is, to the living, So death is, to the dead... Also much other thought-provoking stuff that I can't find my notes on, right now... >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (110 of 111), Read 6 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Thursday, April 25, 2002 09:10 AM http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (111 of 111), Read 4 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Thursday, April 25, 2002 09:27 AM I hate computers sometimes. I wrote a lovely post about some of the things I had noted while reading the book through a second time, and just as I finished this long post, the computer messed up and I lost it all. ;-( Anyway, without my book handy now to quote, let me try to remember what I said last night. When the murderer is looking through his haul, he notes that everything he takes has some use, whether clothes, food, jewelry, etc. All but the Entymologist which he tosses to the wind. I found this interesting because the magazine is probably more representative of who Joseph and Celice were than any of their other personal belongings. It represented their life, their careers, their overwhelming interest, something they shared from the beginning. To the murderer it was as dispensable as they were. As strangers, they were nothing to the murderer other than humans who had something he wanted. Their individuality is lost. Yet by going through the story of their lives, Crace allows us to know them and this act of describing their belongings and the murderer's wanton lack of recognition of what the magazine meant to these people in the big picture( of course, how would he know)is upsetting to the reader, at least it was to me. It makes you realize just how little each of us can mean to others--just another person in the massive pulse of humanity, our individuality lost with our death. Anyway, this of course is nowhere near what I said in my post last night. LOL! Anyway, my thoughts this morning, rambling though they may be. I will try to remember what else I said later. Caio! Nancy http://www.netscope.net
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (112 of 116), Read 17 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 05:58 AM I’ve been neglecting you. But I have a reasonable excuse. I’ve been grappling with the issue that Barbara mentioned in Post No. 105, that is the quest for “a rational construction” for a novel when one’s narrative method is to embark on a story without any “outline”. When this method works it’s like chipping into a piece of granite to discover the statue within. But I have been chipping away at my new novel, “Genesis”, and not finding the statue. So I had a sort of creative crisis this week and had to go back to the beginning. The problem was, I realised, that I knew far too little about the main character. I had to think about who he was and then start again, updating my old material to match the new decisions. It has been scary, but reassuring also. I’ve reached the weekend feeling much more confident about the book. Maybe it’ll start to fly on Monday.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (113 of 116), Read 17 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 06:00 AM Reading Candy’s responses to my North Korean-style atheist rants has caused me to realise why it is that novelists seem so obsessed and so grumpily comfortable with faith and belief. It’s because the great religions and the great novels both employ the Trojan horse of science-denying narrative to smuggle their various notions into our consciousnesses. It all goes wrong for believers when they try to present their sweet little fictions (that the world was created in 6 days, for example, or that Jesus turned water into wine) as solid facts rather than simple, educative fables. Maybe they realise that the existence of God itself is just another sweet little fiction, so they dare not risk the loss of God by conceding the flimsiness of their other “beliefs” about how the universe is ordered. And this, perhaps, explains my ambivalence: I’m a committed and passionate novelist but in opposing religious belief from a scientific standpoint I am also undermining the power of narrative where it has proven most potent, at the heart of great religions.
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (114 of 116), Read 17 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 06:01 AM I was really pleased to read Lee’s post about Joseph’s dying obsession with his missing ledger and Nancy’s post about the murderer’s dismissal of The Entymologist. They both spotted my exact intentions. That’s gratifying because I sometimes wonder whether all the little hints and nudges which I bury in my books are ever spotted by the readers. “Never believe the writer; never trust the publisher; never cheat the bookseller; never underestimate the reader.” Mondazy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (115 of 116), Read 11 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 10:29 AM I've so much enjoyed your presence here, Jim. And thanks for letting us be privy to your struggles with the new book. I'm looking forward to reading it, and thinking of your comments here when I do. ARCADIA sit in my to-be-read file as of this moment. Ruth, in California, where it's about to rain
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (116 of 116), Read 10 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 10:49 AM Speaking of "little hints and nudges" buried in a book that may or may not be noticed by readers, the answer to the question of whether Christ ever laughed is more than hinted at in that first miracle you mention. How could anyone who resupplied the wine for a wedding in unlimited quantities not have enjoyed a laugh. I believe that this hint was one unintentionally and accidentally inserted by one the untrustworthy authors of the New Testament, a bunch of old grumps--with the exception of St. John the Divine, who was obviously on acid. Keep pounding away on that new one. Remember that you and I have a new business relationship. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (117 of 120), Read 46 times Conf: Reading List From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 03:20 PM North Korean rants, ha ha funny! I didn't feel that, you monkey. Yeah, I agree, that your obsession really seems to be working on so many levels... Cheers, Candy
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (118 of 120), Read 47 times Conf: Reading List From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, April 26, 2002 03:46 PM Just to tweak things a tiny bit here -- that water into wine thing -- t'weren't supposed to be anything scientific about it -- it's toted up as one of the miracles as Steve pointed out. Okay -- as you were -- I'm taking this in and I'm even still sifting notes -- fantastic to have you just keep returning and keeping up with our chatter here, Jim, and like others -- that book that's giving you trouble is already on the TBR list here. If the author is Jim Crace -- I'm definitely in line to read it. Dottie "Your thorns are your best part." Marianne Moore
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (119 of 120), Read 28 times Conf: Reading List From: Sheila Ash sheila_ash@lineone.net Date: Saturday, April 27, 2002 11:00 AM Like Karen I thought I might miss this discussion through vacation, but I'm back just in time it seems. I haven't reread Being Dead but as many of you know from previous posts on this and other Crace books I loved it, as I have most but not all of his books. I am so pleased that the discusion has been good ( I am only part way through catchign up with it!)and think it great that Jim has managed to join in. In case he does again, I should like to ask him some questions: How do you get the topics for your books? I am intruiged by just how different they are from each other. Do you have a say in the choice of covers? My reason for asking is that the first one of your books I read was Quarantine. I noticed it on the shelves, passed it by several times, picking it up, putting it back,picking it up, putting it back, again and again, before deciding to buy. My analysis of this consumer behaviour? The cover intrigued me,(it was the Penguin paperback edition in the UK with the red/orange desert sands cover with that beautiful font for the title), but the summary put me off, too much of the historical setting and a feeling of religiousness which I know turns me off much painting as well. However, something about it won through. I don't actually know what it was but if I look at it now it would be the "Hell is other people..." tag, perhaps the description of Musa, who turned into one of the most real characters for me - I can see, him, smell him, sense him each time I think about him. Dottie, I think mentioned that she was going to read Signals of Distress next. Now that has a weird cover! It makes sense of course once you read the book, but, Jim, who chose that aspect of the book for the cover? I have tried to think what it is, if anything, that I see linking your books, what is the common appeal of them, even Arcadia which I didn't like nearly as much as the others on first reading, and it is the sense of environment and scale, for the landscapes of the desert, the coast, the city all have their small scale and large scale. Even in Gift of the Sones, where the local known to the narrator is actually very small when looked at through modern eyes, but to him was very large indeed. But also the environment and scale aspects apply not just to the physical environs you portray but the emotional ones as well - the detailed minutiae of life and lives, to how whole groups of people interact and how society works. I hope that makes some sense. I've just bought The Devil's Larder. Last question, film rights? Has there been any interest in making films from your books. Sheila
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (120 of 120), Read 2 times Conf: Reading List From: Mary Anne Papale mapreads@hotmail.com Date: Sunday, April 28, 2002 03:06 PM Just after reading Being Dead, I read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. In it, she quotes Alice Adams as recommending the ABDCE form: Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending. This information will not be new to the writers here, but I couldn't help but marvel at how closely Being Dead follows this pattern. The notion of having the climax be an event that happened 30 years prior to the main story, and crafting the story so that you wouldn't have to reveal that climax early on -- well, I am so impressed. The telling of the story unfolds perfectly, for the reader's benefit. Can one desire too much of a good thing? - W. Shakespeare MAP
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (122 of 129), Read 33 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 11:57 AM On the miraculous issue of water and wine, can I just remind myself (Dottie and Steve) of the historical background to that little narrative? In the time of Jesus, there were two opposing parties within the Jewish congregation: those traditionalists who wanted to protect the priestly hierarchies and those radicals who campaigned for a more egalitarian temple. The traditionalists believed that only the priests were holy enough to be anointed with wine. Everyone else had to make do with the blessing of water. The radicals, including Jesus, wanted a more democratic culture in which every Jew was considered holy enough to warrant the wine. So when the gospels describe Jesus turning water into wine, they were not presenting some conjuring trick but merely a clear metaphor for his religious beliefs. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (123 of 129), Read 32 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:00 PM What kind of party guest is Sheila? She turns up late, just when everybody else was getting ready to go home, and then –flushed with sun and booze from her fancy vacation- fires off a series of mighty questions. Here goes. 1) “How do you get the topics for your books?” I’m just like everybody else, interested in a lot of things. The more the world changes, the more I change, the more topics there are to visit with some fiction. There’s no mystery. 2) “Do you have any say in the choice of covers?” Yes, I could prevent any particular design seeing the light of day if I so chose. But generally I keep schtumm and let the art department do their job. I like to be one of those writers who never make a fuss. I wasn’t entirely happy with the UK cover of “The Devil’s Larder.” I thought it was a bit dodgy –exploitative, that is, and too much like a Cosmopolitan cover. But all the women at Penguin UK loved it, so I bowed to their post-feminist views. The UK “Signals of Distress” cover with the field of fish was dreamt up by the designer though it was based, of course, on a passage in the book. 3) “Has there been any interest in making films from your books?” Lots, but not much studio support. A film of “Quarantine” with a script by the novelist Patrick McGrath foundered when the American studio wanted to reset the Ancient Judean location in an Oregon survivalist camp. A film of “Being Dead” is currently “in development” (i.e. the Americans who would like to make it haven’t got their $millions yet). “Signals of Distress” is being “scripted” at this very moment and might well make it to the big oblong. There’s also a theatre version being staged at the Soho Theatre in NY this autumn. The section of “The Devil’s Larder” called The Air & Light is being turned into an arty short by an American director. All this is a lot of fun, of course. And profitable (so far) for no-one else but me! Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (124 of 129), Read 34 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:01 PM I don’t know Anne Lamott's “Bird by Bird” or Yukio Mashima’s “Patriotism”. But thanks, Barb and Map, for drawing my attention to them. I’ll never catch up with all these books. It was an unusual honour to be called a monkey by a minx. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (125 of 129), Read 33 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:02 PM Christ a leftist? Why didn't I figure that out myself? Moving from wine to food, I have been reading the The Devil's Larder. While not wishing to change the subject at hand, I find that one an amazing exploration of the metaphor of food. (Perhaps "metaphor" is the incorrect word, but it will have to do for now.) Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (126 of 129), Read 31 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:05 PM Oops. Posting at the same time as the author. Excuse me. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (127 of 129), Read 33 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:07 PM If wanting to treat everybody as if they were priests is a Leftist agenda, then I'm with you on that one, Steve. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (128 of 129), Read 33 times Conf: Reading List From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:13 PM Jim, one of our great left wing politicians of the thirties, Huey Long of Louisianna, adopted as his campaign slogan the phrase "Every Man a King." Secular, but the same idea. Steve
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (129 of 129), Read 30 times Conf: Reading List From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, April 29, 2002 12:53 PM When they get to casting Being Dead, can I have a bit part as a sprayhopper? Ruth, who had lots of practice as a child
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (130 of 132), Read 7 times Conf: Reading List From: Jim Crace Date: Friday, May 03, 2002 07:41 AM Let's face the chilling truth, this discussion thread is not showing any signs of life. We've held the mirror up to its mouth and it has not gone cloudy. The body has not even twitched since Tuesday. It has reached the state of Being Dead. So thanks, CRs for your hospitality and sparkling minds. I've enjoyed taking part. But now I'm up and away to Hungary for a week, where "Being Dead" is being published in translation. And, yes, Ruth gets to play the sprayhopper. Jim
Topic: Being Dead by Jim Crace (131 of 132), Read 6 times Conf: Reading List From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Friday, May 03, 2002 07:46 AM Thank you so much, Jim, for Being Here. Sherry
Topic: No Topic (132 of 132), Read 5 times Conf: Reading List From: Nancy Hudson nhallo@netscope.net Date: Friday, May 03, 2002 08:01 AM Thanks for joining us, Jim! It was a great asset to the discussion and a pleasure. Enjoy Hungary! I am Hungarian and have relatives there. Hope to visit soon. Join us again sometime when your busy schedule allows. Nancy http://www.netscope.net

 

 
Jim Crace
Jim Crace

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com