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Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld



Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
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    The Enchanted

    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508

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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Being Dead

by

Being Dead Cover

ISBN13: 9780374110130
ISBN10: 0374110131
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Excerpt

For old times sake, the doctors of zoology had driven out of town that Tuesday afternoon to make a final visit to the singing salt dunes at Baritone Bay. And to lay a ghost. They never made it back alive. They almost never made it back at all.

Theyd only meant to take a short nostalgic walk along the coast where they had met as students almost thirty years before. They had made love for the first time in these same dunes. And they might have made love there again if, as the newspapers were to say, ‘Death, armed with a piece of granite, had not stumbled on their kisses.

They were the oddest pair, these dead, spreadeagled lovers on the coast: Joseph and Celice. Both had been teachers. He was director at the Tidal Institute, where he was noted for his coldness as much as for his brains. She was a part-time tutor at the university. Hardly any of their colleagues had ever seen them together, or visited them at home, let alone witnessed them touch. How unexpected, then, that these two, of all couples, should be found like this, without their underclothes, their heads caved in, unlikely victims of unlikely passions. Who would have thought that unattractive people of that age and learning would encounter sex and murder in the open air?

They paid a heavy price for their nostalgia.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lydiav, April 18, 2007 (view all comments by lydiav)
Being Dead is an incredibly original tale of a husband and wife who are murdered on a visit to the beach. Over the course of the next few days the story progresses switching from images of the bodies disintegrating in the sand dunes to telling us the history of their relationship and the events leading up to their death. An amazing book (though graphic at times) that is a little bit "crime scene investigation" and a little bit love story.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374110130
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Crace, Jim
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
Zoologists
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Couples.
Subject:
Women zoologists
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
no. 962
Publication Date:
20010321
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.31 x 5.47 x 0.48 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Being Dead Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374110130 Reviews:
"Review" by , "What a stylist Crace is, and what a vision... Crace has the rare gift of seeing the splendor under the grass. In his 'everending' vision, death and romance are inextricably entwined... [A] tour de force from one of Britain's best novelists."
"Synopsis" by ,
A haunting new novel about love, death, and the afterlife, from the author of Quarantine

Baritone Bay, mid-afternoon. A couple, naked, married almost thirty years, are lying murdered in the dunes.

"Their bodies had expired, but anyone could tell--just look at them--that Joseph and Celice were still devoted. For while his hand was touching her, curved round her shin, the couple seemed to have achieved that peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder. Anyone who found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that something of their love had survived the death of cells. The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still a man and wife, quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet."

"Synopsis" by ,
Lying in the sand dunes of Baritone Bay are the bodies of a middle-aged couple. Celice and Joseph, in their mid-50s and married for more than 30 years, are returning to the seacoast where they met as students. Instead, they are battered to death by a thief with a chunk of granite. Their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week, prey to sand crabs, flies, and gulls. Yet there remains something touching about the scene, with Joseph's hand curving lightly around his wife's leg, "quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet."

"Their bodies had expired, but anyone could tell—just look at them—that Joseph and Celice were still devoted. For while his hand was touching her, curved round her shin, the couple seemed to have achieved that peace the world denies, a period of grace, defying even murder. Anyone who found them there, so wickedly disfigured, would nevertheless be bound to see that something of their love had survived the death of cells. The corpses were surrendered to the weather and the earth, but they were still a man and wife, quietly resting; flesh on flesh; dead, but not departed yet."

From that moment forward, Being Dead becomes less about murder and more about death. Alternating chapters move back in time from the murder in hourly and two-hourly increments. As the narrative moves backward, we see Celice and Joseph make the small decisions about their day that will lead them inexorably towards their own deaths. In other chapters the narrative moves forward. Celice and Joseph are on vacation and nobody misses them until they do not return. Thus, it is six days before their bodies are found. Crace describes in minute detail their gradual return to the land with the help of crabs, birds, and the numerous insects that attack the body and gently and not so gently prepare it for the dust-to-dust phase of death.

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