Paperback ☆ uarantine eBook Ú

Paperback ☆ uarantine eBook Ú

uarantine ☄ [PDF / Epub] ☃ uarantine By Jim Crace ✓ – Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year and a Booker Prize finalistTwo thousand years ago four travellers enter the Judean desert to fast and pray for their lost souls In the blistering heat and bar Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year and a Booker Prize finalistTwo thousand years ago four travellers enter the Judean desert to fast and pray for their lost souls In the blistering heat and barren rocks they encounter the evil merchant Musa — madman sadist rapist even a Satan — who holds them in his tyrannical power Yet there is also another a faint figure in the distance fasting for forty days a Galilean who they say has the power to work miracles Here trapped in the wilderness their terrifying battle for survival begins.

10 thoughts on “uarantine

  1. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    Alone But Never Lonelyuarantine is Crace’s very appropriate term for Jesus’s forty days seclusion in the wilderness shortly after his baptism in the Jordan River According to all of the synoptic gospels he is ‘approved’ by God in his earthly mission at that ceremony Forty days in the life of an individual or forty years in the life of a people is an important biblical poetical trope which Crace appreciates as exactly what it is a period of fundamental transformation in the nature of one’s being The literary context of the forty days is important in order to understand Crace’s interpretation of the storyForty days as a spiritually significant period first appears in the book of Genesis It is the period of persistent rain which wipes out the creation that has disappointed YHWH It appears that YHWH was banking on a bit of high speed natural selection Noah’s family were spared his later regretted purge but had to undergo a double dose of purification forty days of rain and forty days of drying out One can only speculate about the ethical uality of human beings if the original gene pool had survived intactAlthough several of the patriarchs only marry at forty years of age suggesting a period of maturation rather than purification the cultural significance of forty years is established clearly by Israel’s wandering in the desert of Sinai after their escape from Egypt During this period they are fed on the miraculously provided ‘manna’ perhaps signifying the necessity for preparing to enter the promised land Noah’s purification affected all of humanity; the desert wandering was an entirely Jewish affairWhile the Jewish nation was being held captive in Egypt Moses spends forty days on the mountain of Horeb conferring with YHWH the results of which are freedom and the tablets of the law There may have been some spiritual purification or preparation involved but this is not reported in the biblical text Rather Moses’s experience is purely revelatory Legends suggest some sort of conference with the divine presence but its character is unknown One further reference to forty days also at the mountain of Horeb is made regarding the time of penance by the prophet ElijahFinally there are three uses of the period of forty years the first for the time reuired to purify pagan lands before they can be settled by Israel; the second is the period of captivity of the Israelites by the Philistines as a punishment for disobedience; the last is as a period of punishment declared by the prophet Ezekiel on the land of EgyptSo as in much of biblical literature Jesus’s sojourn in the wilderness doesn’t have an historically fixed significance It is open to a variety of interpretations of which Crace’s seems as informed and valid as many others The New Testament story is clearly important and transmitted with variations through at least several of the Christ following traditions But it’s connotations run from radical purging to spiritual renewal to preparation for divine revelation to the imposition of suffering as punishment It’s safe to assume that all these possibilities were known to the early transmitters of Christian tradition and used to establish Jesus as the new Noah the new ‘bread of life’ the new Moses the prophet announcing a new Israel and the messiah who was to undergo sacrificial punishment for the sins of Israel and the rest of the world The forty days therefore designating a time of transformation is of central importance in ChristianityThe use of the term ‘uarantine’ adds a new dimension to the forty days experience While you’re in a state of disease you are prevented from infecting others; but you may not make it out alive yourself uarantine represents a kind of existential threat which Crace’s Jesus is aware of “He'd put his trust in god as young men do He would encounter god or die that was the nose and tail of it That's why he'd come” Whatever happened at the Jordan was enough to inspire this idealistic and potentially deadly pilgrimage but it wasn’t enough to convince Jesus that he knew what he was doingJesus shares his uarantine with six others four volunteers like himself and a hapless couple she heavily pregnant and he an abusive monster This group doesn’t conform with biblical prototypes which apply either to individuals or national groups The randomness of this small collective is noteworthy as an innovative departure by Crace It allows a social interaction among strangers into the depths of the forty days experience whatever that experience entailsEach member of the uarantined party has a uniue issue a Jewish matron possibly infertile; an elderly Jewish stonemason hoping for a miracle cancer cure; a Bedouin shepherd apparently mad; a handsome blond foreigner seeking holy wisdom rather than god; the couple which had been abandoned by their caravanserai she longing for freedom he for wealth and power; and of course Jesus whose encounter with god was dependent in his mind on the endurance of physical punishment For him “Triumph over hardship was their proof of holiness”Crace creates an interesting spiritual logic for Jesus’s presence in the wilderness For Jesus god is the creator and guarantor of orderliness in the universe His choice is to believe in cosmic order rather than pandemonium The wilderness with its harsh climate its absence of edible plant life and its general inhospitableness to life is God’s work yet to be completed He just hasn’t got to it yet It is “the edge of god's unfinished universe” There Jesus could observe the divine creative process in action This would be the sign he was looking for his participation in the new creation He wanted his god tangibleJesus’s intention is to isolate himself even within the isolation ward of his companions He like Moses and Elijah wants alone time with god But his colleagues have different ideas None of them has any interest in this tangible divinity nonsense All they want are improvements in their situations not any sort of Sinaitic epiphany So they annoy him meddle in his solitude harass him with trivial concerns and interrupt his planned ritual In short Crace’s Jesus is a religious snob who has no time for the worries and mundane concerns of the hoi pilloi a type that would later be ridiculed as Pharasaic simply because they were punctilious in their observance of the law But this is how he had been raised in a traditional Jewish household These are the things that made him what he was a devout servant of the Almighty who was keen to attract his favour and what he hoped to become a renowned preacher and interpreter of the law Something considerably than a village tradesman’s sonThey were a superstitious lot Jesus forty days companions When it suited they had an eye for miracles and ‘angel births’ of unmarried mothers the potency of dreams to shape reality the demonic source of illness He learns these things from them But these are incidental to his real transformation which has principally to do with his discovery that god to the extent he exists is present in them; that they are the source of his own re creation; that without them his beliefs and ritual practices are useless merely distracting self delusionsI think Crace’s intuition about the forty days is correct Its power is profoundly transformative In particular its outcome cannot be anticipated What is changed is an appreciation of what it means to exist as a person The combination of isolation physical hardship and an attitude of openness to change in the status uo produces not just change but changed expectations about ourselves as well as about the world in general It is Jesus’s acceptance of the experiences of the others who are part of his forty days experience that is the catalyst for his new life in public He ultimately knows himself not the wilderness to be the object of continuing creation; and the means of that continuing creation is other people even the bad crazy and troubled ones especially the bad crazy and troubled ones This conclusion and the religious life it implies is as much a surprise to him as it is to his family and acuaintances His forty days includes all previous biblical experiences as well from Noah to Ezekiel from purification to penance In this sense at least Crace’s Jesus has become the entirety of the law and the prophets

  2. Vit Babenco Vit Babenco says:

    What has one to do in the desert? Why do pilgrims sinners hermits and saints go there? Why had Jesus gone to the wilderness?There was nothing else for Jesus to do except to simplify his life Repentance meditation prayer Those were the joys of solitude They had sustained the prophets for a thousand years And they would be his daily companions He started rocking with each word of prayer putting all his body into it speaking it out loud concentrating on the sound so that no part of him could be concerned with lesser matters or be reminded of the fear the hunger and the chill He seemed to find his adolescent rhapsodies The prayers were in command of him He shouted out across the valley happy with the noise he madeBut who is nearer to you God or Devil? Who sends all the ordeals and temptations?He begged the devil to fly up and save him from the wind He'd almost welcome the devil than god For the devil can be traded with and exorcized But god is ruthless and unstableTyrants and God have the same nature – they are liars and they persuade their own purposes

  3. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    They were amazed at all the stories he could tell He’d come from forty days of uarantine up in the wilderness He hadn’t drunk or eaten anything He’d gone up thin and come back fat thanks to god’s good offices He’d shared his cave with angels and messiahs; he’d met a healer and a man who could make bread from stonesOne of the travellers gave Musa food to eat Another let him ride inside his donkey cart He sat on bales of scrub hay his fat legs hanging off the back What little sun there was came from the summit of the precipice Musa looked up to the scree shading his eyes against the light and checked the spot where he had left his worldly goods He was alarmed for an instant There was somebody climbing down towards his hiding place half hidden in the shade A man or woman? Musa was not sure Whoever it was did not stop to search amongst the rocks but hurried down across a patch of silvery shale Now Musa had a clearer view; a thin and halting figure tacking the scree almost a mirage–ankleless no arms–in the lifting light Musa shouted to his new companions ‘Look there’ he said ‘That’s the one I mentioned to you The healer Risen from the grave’How about that I read that passage earlier this Easter morning a day associated with the end of the fasting period in the Christian Church and with resurrection The book gods are good to me surely

  4. Maciek Maciek says:

    Jim Crace's short novel uarantine was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997 but did not win it lost to The God of Small Things Despite not being a long novel the Penguin edition clocks in at just 243 pages uarantine aims to achieve a high goal retell the story of Jesus's 40 day sojourn in the desert and his temptation by the DevilThe problem with retellings of well known stories is precisely the fact that they are well known the author has to show a certain degree of invention to make up for that fact It can be done by adapting the story to the modern setting which is what Francis Ford Coppola did to Heart of Darkness and created Apocalypse Now Many foreign films have been remade for the American market keeping the story but localizing the cast and setting Crace does not take this road his work is set in the Judaean Desert 2000 years ago but the story does not follow the Biblical gospels Crace's Jesus is all too human he has no divine aspirations and came to the desert to fast and grow closer to God He throws himself totally at his mercy with no food and water and little shelter guided only by his faithCrace's Jesus is only one of several characters driven to the remoteness of the desert The novel features six other characters all of whom interact with Jesus in some way the most interesting and important is Musa a greedy trader and abusive man who was left in the desert by his partners to die a slow death sickness eating him from the inside He is accompanied by Miri his pregnant wife who eagerly awaits his death Although he is the most important person of the scene Jesus is not the main character in fact he is mostly seen through the eyes of others who all project themselves onto him and see him through their needs These characters are essential for Jesus to fulfill his destiny Musa will come in contact with Jesus and will be touched by him all the people will be touched by Jesus in one way or another and the impact he had on them will have conseuences for the whole worldCrace's writing has the dreamlike and hazy uality almost hallucinatory appropriate for the setting and theme; he focuses on the miniscule detail of the wilderness of the desert its animals plants and insects Folk beliefs of the times and people play an important part Musa's sickness is understood to have been caused by a devil who snuck inside him through his mouth and lit a fire under his chest In 2011 I've read Philip Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ which I thought was a fantastic re telling of the story of Jesus and a fable of the rise of Christianity and a controversial one too resulting in hate threats of damnation being sent to the author In his work Pullman not focused his story on Jesus he split him into two distinct persons Jesus and Christ which I thought worked splendidly and his book impacted me greatly something which I did not expect and was verypleasantly surprised by I felt that Jim Crace's book lost potential impact by letting Jesus be seen largely through the eyes of other characters; they themselves are well drawn and interesting especially Musa but you just can't compete with the Messiah I mean how often do you really get to see the Son of God up close and personal?In the end found uarantine to be a fablelike novel stylishly written and full of symbolism but constrained by the story it took upon itself which is well known and holds few surprises even for those who do not know their Bible It entered the canon of literary stories of Jesus done by writers as different as Anne Rice and Norman Mailer but I'm afraid that for all its uality if will remain in the background precisely because of its gentleness and meekness overshadowed by daring and controversal projects

  5. Zaki Zaki says:

    Reading Jim Grace I feel like he’s very aware of writing in a kind of oral tradition He’s very attentive to the music and the rhythm of the way that sentences sound like Even though he uses simple vocabulary the percussion of each sentence is very complicated and Jim Grace attends to it very closely There’s always a drum beat running through his sentences They are so musically and rhythmically based that you almost want to tap your feet to them I was really charmed by this story It started off with five pilgrims including Jesus venturing out into the Judean desert for a forty day uarantine They choose caves not far apart from each other to spend their uarantine in and search for enlightenment or purification For the uarantiners are hoping to cleanse themselves of madness cancer and infertility What follows is a period of fasting and praying and in due course the tired and thirsty pilgrims become afflicted with religious and spiritual hallucinations And dark visions Now I was under the impression that this book was very close to the traditional story of Jesus in the wilderness even though Jesus in this book was portrayed as a human with human failings I don’t know much about the bible uarantine looked to me like the most real story about the origin of Jesus and the Christian religion I thought that Jim Grace could only be a devout Christian but reading up on him I've discovered that he is actually a staunch atheist and this book is not written from the Christian perspective at all In fact the idea for this story came to Jim Grace from a dark and troubled place down the road from where he used to live This place was a hostel for patients with mental health problems The patients used to wander around his suburb and fascinate Jim Grace with their stories and illnesses One day he sneaked into this hostel which consisted of tiny rooms like cells occupied by a community of depressives addicts obsessives and schizophrenics Jim Grace wanted to write about this community but instead of setting it in Birmingham he was looking for a parallel; a place where he could set that subject matter which would dislocate the reader He is after all a fabulist writer One day his friends who were visiting Palestine sent him a postcard of the Mount of Temptation This was the place where the historical Christ spent his forty days of battling with the devil In this postcard he noticed lots of caves and it occurred to him that at the time of Christ anyone who had a problem any depressive addict or obsessive not just the Son of God might have taken to these caves to battle with their demons And this became the parallel to the hostel down his road Indeed in Jim Grace’s uarantine Jesus’ prayers seem like epileptic fits rather than communications with God

  6. Hugh Hugh says:

    Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1997I first read this book shortly after the paperback was first published in the late 90s and although I remember liking it I remember very little of the detailed content So I welcomed the chance to reread it as part of The Mookse and the Gripes group's current project to revisit the 1997 Booker shortlist If anything I was even impressed that before and it was interesting to pick up on what was discussed at the time of Crace's last book The Melody about the way Crace uses imaginary locations as the settings for his books because he does not want to get bogged down with too much real world details This discussion mentions some invented natural elements that recur in several of his books for example the tarbony treeSo this is very much a fictional book but one that addresses well known religious themes and Biblical stories and because Crace like me is an atheist I had no problems with some of his controversial and provocative choices and can't speak for those with keener religious sensibilitiesThe starting point is the well known Biblical story of Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness Crace was interested in bringing a modern scientific perspective to the uestion of what might happen if a real human tried to emulate him Although Jesus plays a part in the story and is generally treated respectfully Crace's story diverges a long way from the originalAt the start of the book we meet Miri the wife of Musa a travelling merchant who has fallen ill while travelling across the wilderness with a larger group Thinking he is about to die they leave the couple behind in their tent with just enough provisions to survive until the party returns Miri attempts to tend him but the situation looks hopeless and she starts to dig a grave by hand Meanwhile 5 other travellers arrive intending to use caves as homes for a religious uarantine period The first 4 are normal humans and looking for divine help with domestic problems by fasting during daylight hours for 40 days and the fifth who remains apart from the rest of the group is Jesus looking to start his extreme form of uarantine While Miri is at the grave site Jesus visits Musa's tent takes a little food and water and nurses Musa a little Meanwhile the grave starts to fill with groundwater providing a vital source of water to the uarantiners and Musa wakes up alone in his tentMusa is very much the villain of the piece and his miraculous recovery has conseuences His merchant instincts lead him to find a way to exploit the other uarantiners firstly by claiming to own the land and also by selling them some of the supplies he has in his tent He is an expert story teller and he soon has them all doing his bidding Musa is an abusive husband and also covets Marta a female uarantiner who is desperate for a child because her marriage is approaching the ten year point at which being childless becomes grounds for divorceJesus proves harder to crack he has found the most remote cave only accessible by a risky scramble down a cliff face and although Musa tries to tempt him with food and water he refuses all sustenance confident that his God will protect himview spoiler Towards the end of the book Jesus appears lifeless and the uarantiners bury him and start to disperse The others betray the fat Musa and escape without him Miri goes with Marta who has been raped by Musa but believes herself to be pregnant The ever resourceful Musa finds his own way out and convinces himself he has seen Jesus twice since his apparent death He resolves to stop trading in material goods and concentrate on selling his storytelling hide spoiler

  7. Martine Martine says:

    Now this is how you write a gripping book uarantine is what you might call a novel of ideas It seeks to give an account of Jesus' forty day sojourn in the desert and to explain how Christianity or if you will the cult of Christ came into being While it's not overly blasphemous it does present its theories in a way to which people who take the New Testament very literally might object See for one thing Crace's Jesus is not the Son of God but rather a clumsy and all too human carpenter who takes his faith seriously than his work; for another he is not actually the main character of the novel nor even its most interesting character That honour goes to Musa surely one of the most fascinating villains in twentieth century literature uarantine is about the apparently common in Biblical times act of uarantining ie secluding oneself in the desert for a while to meditate and commune with God Jesus is only one of several characters who on the first day of the story arrive in an inhospitable part of the wilderness to take up lodgings in some barren caves and begin meditating He's different from the other uarantiners though While the others only fast during the day and aren't averse to talking to each other when not meditating Jesus is determined not to eat or drink anything for forty days and to stay completely on his own But before he retreats into his cave he touches a dying man Musa who promptly recovers Needless to say Musa is convinced Jesus is a miraculous healer and tries to get him out of his cave to talk But Jesus refuses believing Musa is a devil come to tempt him And so a fascinating battle of wills begins which uickly works its way to a haunting and remarkably plausible conclusion Crace is a fabulous writer His metaphor laden prose has a breath taking occasionally hallucinatory uality especially in the marvellous second half of the book and his descriptions of pretty much anything are superb His Judean desert is an exciting place so vivid it almost becomes a character in itself His descriptions of fasting and what it does to one's body and mind are terrifying Trust me after reading this book you'll never consider hunger striking again Yet it's the characters who steal the show Jesus' struggle against temptation and hallucinations is rendered impressively and rather realistically than the stories told about this in the Bible But while Jesus is important to the story for the effect he has on the other characters he is not the most riveting character in the book That would be Musa a tyrannical merchant with a frightful sense of entitlement and very little compassion for anyone let alone a bunch of afflicted souls who have come to the desert to pray He's a nasty piece of work is Musa but Crace has drawn him so well that you find yourself fascinated by his exploits even when he sets out over the course of several pages to plan the rape of the lone woman among the uarantiners some of the most riveting prose I've ever come across No Musa is not Satan but it's easy to see why Jesus believes he is He's rotten to the core which makes what he does on the final page of the book all the extraordinary I found myself glued to the pages whenever the story was told from his point of view admiring Crace for the skill with which he brought his antagonist to life without making you want to close the book in disgust The other perspectives are less impressive but still entirely worth reading Crace can draw characters in just a few lines and his way with words is such that the effect is uite dazzling He is uite the storytellerSo Do seek this book out people Don't believe the baffling number of three star reviews on this site; instead check out the plethora of five star reviews on couk here and remember that uarantine was voted the Whitbread Novel of the Year and short listed for the Booker Prize Then read the book I promise you you won't regret it

  8. Val Val says:

    The inspiration for the book is the account in the Bible of Jesus's fast and temptation in the desert as he was preparing himself for his ministry Five people are fasting in this story for various reasons one of them named Jesus He is the only one who fasts both day and night the others break their fast after sunset He is the only one not tempted bullied or taken advantage of by the 'devil' here an unscrupulous merchant called Musa The story and characters are both excellent but the way the author uses biblical sources mixed with normal life makes the book outstanding

  9. Szplug Szplug says:

    Dervish fire serpent's smiling faceWind charred cave dreamt in fasting vowMerchant goad hunger for the nowSere masters of the flesh the baseSoulless formless hell's cracked shell spaceFrom body hale now withered boughLove's courses ne'er found room enowTo grow bound in faith's carapaceYep that's ridiculous but it truly is about all I can muster for Mr Crace a writer who has never yet risen above so so for me though I enter each book expecting big things If The Pesthouse is merely merely I do believe I shall foreswear this gentleman's words for the foreseeable future

  10. Dani Dányi Dani Dányi says:

    Life's too short for thisHalfway into the book it is getting and uninteresting as well as dull though dull's okay for a desert retreat into the wilderness with none of these contrived and token characters exceeding 2 dimensions and Jesus being interesting only on account of being well y'know that Jesus And so everyone's kind of hooked on him for no apparent reason except that the script says so and script is scripture Hah Sure there's some merit in illustrating how remarkably unremarkable some episodes in Jesus's life would have been but why go through all these pages just to tell us that? It's not like anyone imagined that 40 days fasting in the wilderness was a spiritual vacation This whole gig might've made a better short story than a mostly unsatisfactory novel partly on account of its promise of the nifty idea and swanky lit prize listing type The prose is itself annoyingly well written though the desert doesn't accommodate all the description of scrag and scree and erm scruff or whatnot the geography's overstated and there's not much else going on I liked Miri's hopes before being miraculously dashed and her loom But all in all the whole project showed less promise than I was willing to sacrifice 100 odd pages reading time on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *