Death, belief and nature: <i>Quarantine</i> (1997) and <i>Being Dead</i> (1999)

Philip Tew

in Jim Crace

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780719069123
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701232 | DOI:
Death, belief and nature: Quarantine (1997) and Being Dead (1999)

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This chapter focuses on Arcadia and Signals of Distress, and the relationship of the individual to the larger community, in particular the sense of marginality. In both novels, published in the early 1990s, new arrivals and existing inhabitants face uncertainty in periods of great transition. The two settings are contrasting. The first novel is decidedly urban, and, as Jim Crace says, ‘I'm addicted to the imperfections of city life’. However, key characters are drawn from the countryside. In both novels, certain individuals seem periodically at odds with both the landscape and the trajectory of history, and all of them explore the rituals of everyday existence, especially those of trade and desire, in a series of crises of identity and social conflicts. In the imaginary settings, the first unnamed and the second a rendition of an obscure backwater in the early nineteenth century, Crace creates what might be termed an ‘imaginary realism’.

Keywords: Jim Crace; Arcadia; Signals of Distress; marginality; imaginary realism; arrivals; city life; countryside; landscape; history

Chapter.  17023 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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