“…he makes his lies do honest work…”

Adam Begley interviewed Jim Crace for the Paris Review (Issue 167), Fall 2003:

“Jim Crace is a liar. His novels are peppered with invented detail cunningly disguised as fact: Tarbony trees, Boulevard Liqueur, manac beans, Panache automobiles, swag flies, a wise old poet named Mondazy. A careless reader will mistake the make-believe for realist detail—which is all part of the plan.

   Jim Crace is also stubbornly honest. He insists that his books are wholly invented, that his life is too dull and contentedly settled to make decent fodder for fiction. He lives with his wife in a very ordinary house in a suburb of Birmingham, England. One of his children is just finishing high school, the other is already at university. He’s an avid gardener. A fit fifty-seven year old, he likes a strenuous game of tennis.

   And Jim Crace is secretive—he says so, bluntly. He won’t share his private life with his reading public. Anyone who has met him can tell that there’s a great deal going on inside, a furious boil of ideas and emotion. Crace relaxed is still an intense experience.

   He once pointed out to me that his first four books are about communities in transition…

Only two of Crace’s eight books are anchored by a “real” geography—an English harbor town in Signals of Distress and the Judean desert in Quarantine. The rest are set in what has come to be known as Craceland, a place both strange and familiar, historically specific and timeless. It’s the zone where he makes the fabulous real and the real fabulous, where he makes his lies do honest work…”

Anthony Cummins interviewed the author for The Observer of 13 Feb 2018:

” “I also ought to thank the people of…” That’s how the acknowledgments to Jim Crace’s new novel end, mid-sentence at the foot of the page, as if in error. Although this is the kind of game Crace has played ever since his 1986 debut, Continent, which fabricated an epigraph from “the Histories of Pycletius”, no one imagined he was joking when he noted in his acknowledgments to his last novel, 2013’s Booker-shortlisted Harvest, that he had “enjoyed a fortunate career in books and publishing” – an ominously solemn observation that sounded (as interviews confirmed) a lot like goodbye.

Well, maybe Crace played us yet again, because here he is once more, on typically strange, slippery form. It starts when the concert singer Alfred Busi is attacked by a mysterious nocturnal scavenger…”

“You may doubt the truth of the matter, but truth is is as slippery as an eel. In truth, all truths are passing stages in the emergence of myth.” John Earl, Director of the Theatres Trust, 1986-1995.

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