|It’s a difficult book to talk about, somehow.
It is, in its essence, a book about a change of time. It is about a village on the cusp of eras, shifting from the medieval to the recognisably pre-modern world of enclosures and commercial farming. When you’re in the middle of such shifts, you don’t necessarily see what is to be gained, only what is to be lost. And the agents of those changes see only what is to be gained. Perhaps there is a suggestion that this, too, is the action of nature, as sure as the turn of seasons and as pitiless. There remains only to perform a final framing of how life used to be.
What matters, with this book, is the language. This is a thing of beautiful, sad sentences, golden like evenings at the end of summer. It’s said to be intended as Crace’s final work of fiction, and it is a great summoning of powers at the close of the day. Magnificent.