Jim Crace Arcadia

ISBN 13: 9780689121586

Arcadia

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9780689121586: Arcadia
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As his assistant plans a baccanalian fete to celebrate his employer's eightieth birthday, Victor, a man who rose from dire poverty to immense wealth, makes plans of his own

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About the Author:

Jim Crace is the author of Continent, The Gift of Stones, and Arcadia. He has won the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the David Higham Prize, and the Guardian Fiction Award. He lives in Birmingham, England.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The British Crace maintains his reputation as a bold fabulist with this third novel (Continent; The Gift of Stones) about urban man nourished by fictions of his rural past. Victor, the Vegetable King, began by peddling eggs in the marketplace at age seven; now, a millionaire octogenarian, he decides to replace the open-air market with a glass-enclosed extravaganza. That's the gist of what happens here; Crace passes up conventional storylines (a rags-to-riches saga, corporate intrigue) to attend to his own altogether convincing world, recognizably contemporary but geographically indeterminate--a city rooted in a medieval English past but dependent on American-style freeways, its two poles Big Vic (the fortress-like skyscraper where frail, laconic Victor lives alone) and the Soap Market, where the soapies (fruit and vegetable traders) form a link between town and country and dispense ``the blessing of the multitude'' as lustily as the denizens of Gershwin's Catfish Row. And where, too, Victor's mother, Em, a new arrival from the country, once begged for money, Victor a fixture at her breast, Em transforming her harsh rural past into a ``tinseled paradise,'' passing on this fantasy to Victor, who will eventually pass it on to the entire city as Arcadia, his exotic new marketplace. Crace skips over the 70-odd years between Victor's debut as a boy-trader and his present eminence, dwelling instead on the struggle between Victor and his top aide, Rook, fired for taking kickbacks from the soapies; but the struggle, and Rook's grisly end, are in turn secondary to the coming of Arcadia--the novel's climax--and Crace's opportunity for a somewhat trite attack on shopping malls. Read this for its story, and you'll feel shortchanged; read it for its rich texture, with influences running the gamut from Robert Browning to speculative fiction, and you'll feel amply rewarded. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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