Wednesday, September 13, 2006
A view of death..
When is a love story not a love story?
When two lovers are found dead in the dunes. Jim Crace's Being Dead is a magnificent tale told in an unconventional way. Instead of telling the story of Joseph and Felice starting with how they met, got married, had kids, grew old and so on, Crace starts with their demise. From there, the narrative develops in many different directions. Most disturbingly, perhaps, is how their bodies decay on the beach after their murder. He also tells the story of how they met years earlier, not far from where there bodies lie. Another story works backwards, very slowly, on the day they met their demise. And finally, there is the story of their daughter, as she slowly discovers what has happened to her parents.
These four intertwined narratives reveal much about Joseph and Felice, perhaps more than would the traditional "love story." Being Dead is inventive, creative, and a pleasure to read, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. The description of the bodies' decay is very graphic and some would find it disturbing. The gruesome scenes are not gratuitous and I found the descriptions to be so well done, so elegantly crafted, that they're almost a pleasure to read. If you think you have the stomach for some rough descriptions,
I highly recommend this novel.