Jim Crace

Jim Crace

Jim Crace is the prize-winning author of numerous books, including Continent (winner of the 1986 Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize), Quarantine (winner of the 1998 Whitbread Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Being Dead (winner of the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives in Birmingham.


Extract: Harvest by Jim Crace

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, I have been assigned to be Mr Quill’s assistant for the week. My wounded hand excuses me from hard work in the threshing barns. Master Kent insists on it. Once more he proves himself my friend. I shouldn’t try to grip tools or carry anything, he warns. Any pressure and I’ll burst the cushioning of water-whelks and blisters that are already forming at the edges of the burn. I’m not fit for labouring, ‘And never was,’ he wants to say. (Perhaps he would employ me as his man again.) The grain can be separated from the chaff without my help for the next few days. My greater duty is to save my hand. There’re men and women both of us could name who’ve lost a limb and then their lives because a wound has not healed properly. I have to keep it cold and dry but open to the air, so that the savaged skin at the centre can peel away or form a crust. At the moment it’s too swampy to dry and harden. It’s oozing liquids of the sort I’d normally expect to run out of my nose. And the pain, though not as searing as it was...