Being Dead – Jim Crace 

Read March 2015 

This book is all about the writing and characterisation – the descriptions are accurate, the perspectives unique, the depth amazing. From the fairly dull surface of a relationship between two middle class people we end up with a full and deep understanding of them and their relationship with one another.
They are murdered, at the place where they first met thirty years before. An unlucky coincidence, though that allows the author to trace the parallels and delve into the start to their lives together.
As well as the overall sense of knowing them (Joseph and Celice) that grows throughout the book, two particular parts are striking. One is a short description of the decomposing bodies, told, it feels, from the perspective of the flies and crabs that feed on the bodies. The other is the complex and changing feelings of the daughter, Syl, as she moves from resenting the mundanity of her parents’ lives to realising the important but ambiguous place in her life that they occupy.

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