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Signals of Distress: A Novel

Signals of Distress: A Novel

Author: Jim Crace
Publisher: Picador
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction | Literary
signals Of Distress Is An Engrossing Book...crace Is A Genius At Making Round And Really Human Characters, And His Characters Make His Novel Superb.--newsdaynovember, 1836. A Fierce Gale Beaches An American Sail Ship Off The English Coast, Injuring An African Slave Below Decks And Eventually Disgorging 300 Head Of Cattle And Rowdy American Sailors Into A Hardscrabble Fishing Village. The Same Storm Drives Into Port A Steamer, Bearing One Aymer Smith, The Foolish Well-intentioned Prig Who Will Deprive The Town Of Its Livelihood, Free The African Slave, And Set Into Motion A Whole Series Of Unforeseeable, Tragicomic Events. One Of The Most Seductive And Surprising Novelist At Work Today, Once Again Creates A Richly Strange And Believable World, Uncannily Familiar To Our Of The Brightest Lights In Contemporary British Fiction. With Beguiling Narrative Ease And Prose Lyric Enough To Invest The Most Ordinary Events With Mystery, Mr. Crace...lays Bare The Commonplace Events-always Unrecorded-that Crystallize Later As 'history.'-- Charles Johnson, the New York Times Book Reviewcrace Weaves A Progressive Magic Into This Mythic Plot With Masterful Detail, Luminous Prose And Haunting Characterization.--the Boston Globejim Crace Is The Author Of Seven Other Novels, Including being Dead, Which Won The National Book Critics Circle Award For Fiction, And, Most Recently, genesis. He Lives In Birmingham, England. publishers Weeklya Diversity Of Imaginative Settings Distinguishes The Work Of This Brilliant British Writer, Who Has Portrayed Various Historical Periods In Such Outstanding Novels As The Gift Of Stones And Arcadia. The Background Of This Engrossing Narrative Is A Hardscrabble Fishing Village On The English Coast In The 1830s; With His Usual Dexterity, Crace Has Evoked The Time, Place And Characters With An Astute And Ironic Eye. When The Belle Of Wilmington Founders Off The Shore Of Wherrytown, Events Ensue That Embrace Both High Comedy And Foreshadowed Tragedy. The Steamer's American Captain And A Crew That Includes The African Slave Otto Take Lodging In The Village, Where Another Stranger Has Arrived: Priggish, Verbose, Effete, Obtuse Aymer Smith Has Come To Bring The Bad News That His Family's Soap Manufacturing Company Will No Longer Need The Soda Ash That Country People Salvage From Kelp. A Foolish Man Despite His Moral Principles And Good Intentions, Aymer Frees Otto In The Name Of Emancipation, But Without Consideration Of The Man's Future In The Frostbitten Countryside. Aymer's Moral Indignation Is No Match For The Machinations Of The Local Agent, Cunning Walter Howells, Who Outsmarts Him At Every Turn And Puts A Plot In Motion To Sully Aymer's Name And Maybe Break His Skull. Meanwhile, Aymer Navely Pursues Love Among The Townspeople And The Scattered Settlers In The Surrounding Rural Area, Blundering In Every Way. Crace Masterfully Deploys His Poetic Descriptive Powers: On A Brine-bloated Drowned Body, Aymer Spying On A Woman On A Chamber Pot, A Midnight Fishing Crew Awash In A ``gasping Multitude'' Of Pilchards, A Clutch Of Hopeful Emigrants Boarding Ship For Canada. Though Small In Scale, The Narrative Offers A Glimpse Of The Social Fabric Of The Mid-19th Century, With Its Mixture Of Ingrained Customs And Superstitions And The New Scientific Theories (``the Tussling Spirits Of The Age'') In The Air. Filtered Through Character Motivations That Include Farcical Misunderstandings, Poignant Self-delusions, Wily Chicanery, False Hopes And True Love, This Novel About People Dislocated From Their Milieu Fixes A Mesmerizing Grip On The Reader's Imagination. (sept.)
ISBN: 9780312424428
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