Charles Winecoff
April 21, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Being Dead

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jim Crace
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

”Death likes blue skies,” notes Jim Crace, the author of the haunting novel Being Dead, which opens with the random, brutal murder of an older married couple during a picnic on a beach. Working his way gradually back to reveal who they were in life, Crace alternates flashbacks of past indiscretions and marital frustrations with explicit details of the decomposition of their bodies over six days. His triumph lies in making their decay both grotesque and hypnotically beautiful, and in subtly conveying not just the inevitability of their bodily end, but how ”something of their love had survived the death of cells.” It’s a strangely powerful, transcendent work. A-

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