Sunday, March 14, 2010

Awesome Author Challenge, Quarantine

In early December of 2009, I participated in a Christmas Reading Challenge. At the time I thought "what better way to get ready for the Christmas Season than to be inspired by wonderful literature", unfortunately, as you all may have guessed I'm heavily attracted to murder mysteries. So too many of the books I read for this challenge was such, not so Christmas Like. I did however manage to read "the Magi", which was the only "seasonally appropriate" choice. So now that we are heavily into Lent, I thought I'd try to make up for my shortcomings with the Christmas Challenge. I'm participating in a number of reading challenges this 2010 and I am so amazed at the authors I knew nothing about. So...


Alyce from "at home with books" is the hostess for this challenge.

My choice was "Quarantine", Jim Crace. This was a recommendation by Nise, from the A-Z Wednesday Gang. (I think).



My thoughts:
I liked that the writing style set each chapter clearly and coordinated it with each character, and the happenings at the moment. The next chapter would give a view of the same occurrence from the perspective of another character, very easy to read and follow. I often find myself making a web to keep characters straight, but here there were only a few, and their placement was clear.

I'm going to assume from the back cover, that the intended main character was Jesus, but in all reality Musa was an equally prominent character. What did I like about Musa, well nothing, he's the guy who makes it easy to hate him, and yet he's amazing. Jesus' character on the other hand, to me was a new look. I need not tell you I love Jesus, but his portrayal in this novel was unusual.

I felt that Jesus, the intended main character, was vulnerable, I love the fact that the author emphasizes his humanity and then reminds us of his magnificence. Even the evil Musa realizes his significance.

Each of the characters in the book have their own strengths in securing our attention.I was drawn to compassion for the Miri, Musa's wife. To be horrified by his actions towards Marta, and Shim, surprised by the abilities of "the badu", and the endurance of Aphas the elderly, sick Jew, and yet surprised at their naivety, or perhaps I should say at Musa's skills as a salesman/merchant.

Each of the "Quarantined" rely so heavily upon each other it is amazing that they really come from different worlds beyond the desert. Marta, who would normally have stoned the likes of Miri, wants to take her in and be her sister. Shim also a higher class than the badu, relies on him for his safety from Musa. Aphas, quite probably a man of some importance in his own town, is equal to the others. It is amazing how the desert levels out the classes.

I found the ending curious, and surprising, and yet I knew there could not have been a different one.
I'd love to pass this book on to one of the priests I know, just to see the reaction, It's a little contemporary for Catholics.
I recommend this book to those who wonder what the world was like back then, and who like me need a little drink at the fountain of faith.

I'd like to thank Nise for her recommendation of this book, I can't seem to find her review, (quite probably it was someone else, sorry if it is, please correct me.)

I borrowed this copy from my local library, and am looking forward to reading yet another of the this authors works.

1 comment:

Annie said...

This sounds interesting Irene. I love coming over to check out what you have been reading!

Love the Degas painting below. Just beautiful!

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