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Quarantine

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  2,656 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
Jim Crace's novel is the brilliantly imagined story of Christ's forty days in the wilderness, a tale of three men, two women, and a curious wanderer whose peculiar fate is transformed into legend. Dazzling, gritty, and utterly compelling, Quarantine is a work at once timeless and timely - a parable for the ages.
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published March 14th 1998 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published June 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kristijan
Jul 03, 2016 Kristijan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Karantin", odnosno "Iscelitelj" (kako je u Srbiji preveden ovaj roman) je moj prvi susret sa Džimom Krejsom. Ni sam ne znam zašto do tog susreta nije došlo ranije. Krejs je na mojoj listi odavno jer sam još davnih dana odlučio da prorešetam nominovane za Bukera (iako ova nagrada nije uvek data najzaslužnijem autoru i najboljem delu za datu godinu, sam spisak nominovanih krije gomilu bisera književnosti).
Krejs me je kupio već na prvim stranicama. Iako sam čitao (na momente rogobatan) srpski prev
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Maciek
Apr 02, 2013 Maciek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Certainly not Christian fundamentalists
Recommended to Maciek by: Booker shortlist
Jim Crace's short novel Quarantine was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997, but did not win - it lost to The God of Small Things. Despite not being a long novel - the Penguin edition clocks in at just 243 pages - Quarantine aims to achieve a high goal: retell the story of Jesus's 40 day sojourn in the desert and his temptation by the Devil.

The problem with retellings of well-known stories is precisely the fact that they are well known - the author has to show a certain degree of invention t
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Zaki
May 02, 2015 Zaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Jim Grace I feel like he’s very aware of writing in a kind of oral tradition. He’s very attentive to the music and the rhythm of the way that sentences sound like. Even though he uses simple vocabulary the percussion of each sentence is very complicated and Jim Grace attends to it very closely. There’s always a drum beat running through his sentences. They are so musically and rhythmically based that you almost want to tap your feet to them.

I was really charmed by this story. It started
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Martine
Sep 11, 2008 Martine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind towards Christianity
Now this is how you write a gripping book.

Quarantine is what you might call a novel of ideas. It seeks to give an account of Jesus' forty-day sojourn in the desert and to explain how Christianity (or, if you will, the cult of Christ) came into being. While it's not overly blasphemous, it does present its theories in a way to which people who take the New Testament very literally might object. See, for one thing, Crace's Jesus is not the Son of God, but rather a clumsy and all too human carpenter
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Szplug
Aug 03, 2011 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dervish fire, serpent's smiling face,
Wind-charred, cave-dreamt, in fasting vow,
Merchant goad, hunger for the now,
Sere masters of the flesh, the base,
Soulless, formless, hell's cracked-shell space,
From body hale now withered bough,
Love's courses ne'er found room enow,
To grow, bound in faith's carapace.


Yep, that's ridiculous, but it truly is about all I can muster for Mr. Crace, a writer who has never yet risen above so-so for me, though I enter each book expecting big things. If The Pesthouse i
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Mohit Parikh
Quarantine is a good novel: the writing technique of Jim Crace is flawless, language poetic (reviewers note that he uses iambic meters to control the length of his short sentences), the characters serve their purposes well and the era he creates is too real (supposedly, a forte of Crace). And for these reasons this novel should be picked. I recommend it. I am glad that I read it. BUT, I am also left disappointed.
The author has choosen an easy way out.

The book tells Jesus's story of 40 days of
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Sean Gainford
Jul 16, 2009 Sean Gainford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different take on Jesus' 40 days and 40 nights quarantine

A more realistic story on how an eccentric, deeply religious man, with strong will and intelligence, was mistaken to have committed a miracle and then gathered a following of people. Jesus in this story is not a flawless son of God, but very human, with his own human weaknesses and temptations. Crace set himself a difficult task of going in and out of the minds of his 7 characters, but just about pulls it off. Jesus and the greedy, evil
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Steve
Aug 16, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mid 5. This novel is a brilliant illustration of the creative craft and thought-provoking potential of literature. Crace has tackled and successfully surmounted the potentially explosive subject-matter of fictionalising Christ's forty dsys in the wilderness. In doing so, he has so wonderfully captured the rocky desolation of the setting, while humanising the unendurable suffering of the Galilee carpenter's fast. Indeed, the author has blended the human frailty and possible divinity of this chara ...more
Peregrine 12
Dec 09, 2010 Peregrine 12 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody I know.
A though-provoking book but not enjoyable. (I don't care how many medals it won.) This book had beautiful images and real-seeming characters, but the story itself wasn't that compelling. The writing was quite good (mechanically), but again - not a very gripping story. One man's opinion, anyway.
Holly the Infinite Book Dragon
Be well.

As much as I was hoping for a zombie apocalypse novel, this was a retelling of what was reputed to be Christ's 40 day fast in the desert. So.. not what I was expecting, to say the least ^_^

This book is well-written & Crace is wonderful with his attention to detail. I have only read his "The Devil's Larder" prior to this, which was a delicious, erotic collection of short stories which I highly, highly recommend!

This? Well, it all depends. I am not a religious person, so I honestly fo
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Rick Urban
Sep 15, 2015 Rick Urban rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
....or, "When Good Miracles Happen to Bad People".

Really, I'm being reductive here of a very rich and beautifully written work, full of the most poetic and rhythmic language. And while one of the main characters is a Galilean named Jesus, he is just one of several individuals in the book who are in crisis, and, to my mind, not nearly the most interesting or important.

Crace's meditative and provocative novel is the story of five pilgrims who come to the desert back in ancient times in order to fa
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Delaney Green
Feb 03, 2015 Delaney Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Crace's prose lifts you to a place that makes you feel wiser and better, yet his characters are real humans with real flaws and problems. Quarantine is an exotic blend of everyday hardship and transcendent faith.

Quarantine takes place about 30 AD in the dry scrub of the Holy Land where people in need of guidance go alone into the wilderness to seek God through a process called quarantine that involves fasting, prayer, and reflection. In the novel, a group of characters loosely band together
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Valerie Bird
Jan 26, 2015 Valerie Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Quarantine’ by Jim Crace was recommended to me after my love affair with ‘Harvest’, a novel which I will only lend to the most reliable friends who know of my possessive nature where certain books are concerned.
This novel is of the same quality; the language astonishing, with descriptions of people and place as rich, as vivid. The reader is standing alongside the characters, seeing the same scene, suffering the parched earth, the bitter wind, the blistering sun, the bitter nights, the fear.
Awar
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Fiona
I feel like Jim Crace maybe shot himself in the foot a little bit with this one, as far as the star ratings go - I swung between one and four stars about every thirty pages, which is to say sometimes it was fascinating-unsettling and sometimes it was skin-crawl-unsettling and the latter is Not For Me and that is what one star means.

The skin-crawl was deliberate, though, so Crace definitely did what he set out to do. I'm still not sure I got the rating right. But there comes a point after which i
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Trisha
Mar 07, 2013 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suspect that what many fundamentalist Christians find blasphemous about this book is precisely what I found so appealing . It’s an intriguing exploration of the Biblical story of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert and while there are vague similarities and references to the Biblical account, Jim Crace invites the reader to move far beyond what’s found in the Gospels. Reminiscent of Kazantzakis’s “Last Temptation of Christ” Crace’s Jesus is wracked with doubts and uncertainties about who he is, while ...more
Mohit Chauhan
Quarantine is an interesting book to give it the due credit. It lost to God of Small things at Booker in 1997 and is acclaimed supremely high by critics. At times next to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Which is where I find myself having reading either the wrong books or reading the right books wrongly.

I found Quarantine Meek and With no beginning and no definitive end. I found it a bit scratching the surface kind of writing wherein there was a scope to hit treasure if only due deeper. The central
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Gregory Milliron
I can understand why this book won so many awards. Crace reaches out to the reader with excellent writing and a compelling story. I was not at all troubled by the components of this book which deviated from the traditional story of Jesus in the wilderness, and I feel confident that traveling through this fiction as a "possible explanation" or "reasonable telling" of the story is not the purpose of reading this book. I will say, however, that Crace does very little to tie off loose ends at close ...more
Charles Mercieca
In the inhospitable terrain of the Judean desert, an odd party assembles to fast. The quarantiners each have their reasons, be it to banish cancer or bareness from their womb. Along the way they encounter a young Galilean, who seems much more determined than them.

This novel operates on many different levels. The prose is poetic to an extent that it propels the reader down the page. It humanises Jesus and Satan beautifully and even manages to sneak a commentary on the wicked excesses of capitalis
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Jeanne
Apr 09, 2007 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Merilee
Jan 22, 2014 Merilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ended up liking this a lot better than I thought I would, given the subject matter of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness. Crace can certainly write and he has created some memorable characters.
Dey Martin
3.5 stars because of the exceptionally creative premise and how the ending unfolded. i disliked that Musa the fat greedy scheming manipulative lecherous merchant was such a big part of the book. but in hindsight this was needed at least in a lesser part to set up the finale. i really ended up hating him.

* i took a half star off because i so disliked the author's extreme overuse of pronouns esp in the chapters about Miri.
lauren
Apr 17, 2007 lauren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
its funny because louisa bought me this book. and it is all about jesus. hah.

really slow. really slow and really boring. and i'm not all that into historical fiction about jesus.
Shannon
Mar 02, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Crace's Quarantine is populated with a small cast of unique characters (including Jesus) in one of the most desolate places on earth. Crace does such a marvelous job of creating a believable setting for the novel that I ended reading it feeling like I had just come out of a quarantine myself - slightly overwhelmed, exhausted and with my head spinning.

The start of the book finds four people - three men and one woman - heading into the desert for a forty day quarantine. Each has his or her rea
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Claire Fuller
Not for me, despite loving Jim Crace's Harvest. I don't really know the story of Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness. Would I have liked this better if I did? I'm not sure. Beautiful, beautiful writing, but it - the story, the characters - just didn't engage me.
Cindy Rinaman
I would be happier with this book thinking of "Jesus" as one of many would-be messiahs in that time, and the work as an imaginative exploration of what people were longing for, what a wilderness pilgrimage might have been, even THAT it might have been a kind of spiritual-eco-tourism of the time. But it winds up getting too mystical to satisfy the connections Crace suggests with the story as we know it from the Gospels.

The descriptions are gorgeous, though, with a wonderful sense of place--the wi
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Monthly Book Group

Our Group read and discussed this in tandem with Paulho Coelho's "The Alchemist".

In Quarantine, Jim Crace creates a believable world out of a series of interesting characters, but not all is as it seems. For example, he acknowledges the medical quote at the start of Quarantine is fictitious. We loved his description of the weaving process and of the bees as a bait to catch the bird, but forewarned by the video we realized that we should not take these descriptions as ‘Gospel’.

In contrast, Coelh
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Jason Edwards
I read Jim Crace’s Harvest and said of it: “I’m looking forward to going back and reading his other award-winning writing.” And now I have done so, although I am embarrassed to say this is the third book I’ve read by him, not the second. When I went to look up his other novels, I realized I had already read Being Dead. I say I’m “embarrassed” because, apparently, I’m not very good at remembering authors.

But I’ll say this, that reading someone you “know” is different from reading someone you don’
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Charles
Jim Crace's 'Quarantine', while, surprisingly, not as controversial as many have wished it would be, is a profound and contemporary exploration of Jesus's forty days of quarantine in the wilderness. Considering that it is penned by a self-proclaimed atheist, there is something beautiful, pantheistic even, about Crace's virtuosity, an epithet made famous by Frank Kermode, in 'Quarantine'.

I have attended public readings by Jim Crace, and have also been lectured, on a special occasion, by a writer
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Pete Langman
Feb 25, 2014 Pete Langman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, along comes a novel which simply takes your breath away. Dan Brown's classic Digital Fortress is one such book. With a plot which clunks louder than a broken washing machine, plot devices so hackneyed they're almost audacious, and prose so utterly flaccid that were one of my undergrads to present me with an essay written in such a manner, I would quite probably sit them down and ask them whether they were absolutely convinced that English was the degree for them. Then I'd ...more
John Newcomb
A different take on Christ's time in the Wilderness from the St. Matthew's gospel version, with a colourful cast of new and amusing characters.
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James "Jim" Crace is an award-winning English writer. His novel Quarantine, won the Whitbread Novel award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Harvest won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Crace grew up in Forty Hill, an area at the far northern point of Greater London, close to Enfield where Cr
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