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The Gift of Stones
 
by
Jim Crace
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The Gift of Stones

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  442 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Crace’s second novel confirmed his status as a writer of great imagination and skill. Set at the twilight of the Stone Age, a young man elects himself the village storyteller, and hunts restlessly, far and wide, for inspiration. But the information he finds and the people he meets warn of the advent of a new age and the coming of a metal that will change their community’s...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published August 1st 1990 by Thorndike Press, Large Print (first published 1988)
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Agnieszka

The story , set in the Stone Age concerns a small community engaged in mining , crafting and trade of stone products . People consider themselves the chosen ones and diligently guard the secrets of their craft . They have not interest in the outside world , do not like the sea over which their hamlet is located . Stone is their whole world .They know all about its texture , thickness , they know how to hit to make a suitable tool , knife or arrow head . They are endowed with the gift of stones ....more
Maciek
He rehearsed for us the scripture of our village - that we could not be touched because we possessed the gift of stones. If all that the outside world needed was to pound and crush and hammer like savages then any rock would do. But once they wanted more, to pierce and slice, cut and scrape...then they, those farmers, horsemen, fishers, wrights, could not be free of us and we were safe.

Jim Crace's second novel is set in a coastal village in an unnamed country, during the late Neolithic period. I...more
Peter
A friend once told me that really good poems operate on three levels. The first is the literal level. (What happens?) The second is the figurative level. (Abstracted, what does that mean?) And the third is the poetic level. (What if this poem were actually about poetry?)

The Gift of Stones operates on these three levels. On the literal level, it is a cusp-of-the-Bronze-Age story of an outcast who becomes a storyteller and witnesses the collapse of his village. On the figurative level, it explore...more
Adam Rabiner
Gift of Stones is set in an unknown land, high on an ocean bluff (perhaps England, Ireland, Wales, or Scotland) but a very specific time, the tale end of the Stone Age, roughly 2,000 BCE. It's a richly imagined and beautifully written novel. Stones are the lifeblood of a an unnamed village. They support the dull and work-a-day stoners (craftspeople) and merchants whose days are spent quarrying, carving, and trading tools and implements. But change is in the winds and the arrival of distant trade...more
Sean
a poetic, lyrical investigation of the nature of truth and the nature of story, set in a neolithic village on the verge of encountering bronze age technology.

OR

the story of a horny one-armed inverterate liar, a semi-starved prostitute with a love of goose-flesh, a village full of rock-bashers, and a few sailboats that don't stop for lunch.
Conrad
Ever since I read William Golding's 'The Inheritors' many, many years ago I have been fascinated with pre-historic man - by that I mean the era before recorded history. In this short but powerfully evocative little novel Crace brings us the story of a stone age village of flint workers told through the eyes of a young girl adopted by a one armed young man who, unable to work the flints, found his calling as a story-teller who fashioned tales to suit his audience just as the workers fashioned fli...more
Arcadius

I'd waited a long time to get my hands on this and had high expectations for it. Crace gets big plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic, and this supposed tale of a flint-knapping village overtaken by the advent of bronze seemed appealingly Goldingesque.

It wasn't terrible, but I found the characterisation sketchy and uninvolving and (with the sole exception of the 'destruction of the geese' scene) the neolithic world of GOS rather weakly imagined. So far as substance is concerned, I also felt a...more
Lee Broderick
Ostensibly a novel about one village facing a violent and sudden end to the neolithic (a more literal way for the Bronze Age to enter someone's life there could not be) this novel is about far more than that.

Jim Crace has a superb command of the English tongue and the language used here is beautiful. Rather than a straight forward coming-of-an-age tale though, the focus is less on the changes that the new technology brings into people's lives and more on the way in which people choose to live th...more
Ermina Williams
Pretty good in a raveling poetic spinning fashion. But often made me feel I was trapped in the stone cliffs struggling to feel exactly what it was I was to feel in the characters. The characters were tough like canvas and hard boiled like a chewy egg not bad but something didn't let me in to the soft squishiness of being human. Was that the inaccessible charm of a less evolved man Crace intended?
krin
This was a beautifully written book about storytelling, imagination, change and people's resistance to change. I liked the interaction between the narrator's father and the village members. I also liked how the narrator told the audience how sometimes telling stories can backfire when one wants to tell the truth.
Paula Coston
Many would call this book 'masculine', I suspect, but I love it: muscular prose telling a brutal story simply and concentratedly, not at the length that many authors seem to fall prey to these days. It really makes you think about the effect of change on any society or culture; also about when, and whether, you can call any culture 'primitive'. As a writer, I'm full of admiration for the way that Crace uses metaphor and simile constrained by nature and other features of the 'civilization' at the...more
Mary Overton
A crippled outcast earns a place in his stone-age village by becoming its storyteller. His daughter describes the transformation:
“We have heard my father talking - and we know the way he worked. We know that when he spoke he shaped the truth, he trimmed, he stretched, he decorated. He was to truth what every stoney [craftsman who makes knives & arrow-heads] was to untouched flint, a fashioner, a god. We know that when he said, ‘I’ll keep it simple too, I won’t tell lies,’ that this was just...more
Diane Warrington
I originally chose this book because I was searching for Crace's latest book but found this instead. It is a very intriguing story of a community not only living on the edge of land and sea but on the cusp of the Stone age being overtaken by the Bronze age. They are a small village of stone workers. Everyone knows this craft and that's what they trade with the merchants and the horsemen for goods and food.
However there's another story altogether and it's about storytelling. The story has several...more
Theresa
Somewhat disappointing - I almost gave it two stars. I liked the premise, but the language just seemed wrong. It is the story of a community of stone workers in a pre-Bronze Age world who had perfected the art of creating tools from stone. They worked with flint and created the sharpest and best knives, arrowheads, spears and other tools. They traded them for all other needs and had a very comfortable existence even though the work was grueling. Only one individual in the community had ever left...more
GoldGato
This book was absently added to my carry-on while packing and I forgot about it until the return trip. In a darkened airliner, while my fellow passengers slept or watched media, I turned on my light and started this page-turner. I turned so many pages that I finished reading the book as the plane landed, and it was only a domestic flight. That is one of my barometers for a well-written book...the ability to keep me absorbed while the night sky flies past.

It's one thing for an author to get the r...more
Dylan
Wow! Remarkable and beautiful! A fantastic novella. Hard to imagine anyone not liking this work, for its intriguing story and brilliant writing. This was a real page turner for me, and I loved every page of the book. All I can suggest is that you look past the harsh and low ratings here: this is a wonderfully crafted tale.
R
One of my all time favorite books...a novella set in the Bronze age...about a story teller...the first five pages should hook anyone into this imagined world...unforgettable.
Loraine
A holy parable across time, for our time. Such power with language! Crace has honed this tale down to the heart of matters--not one word extra, but each echoing throughout the text.
AdultFiction Teton County Library
TCL Call Number: F Crace
Pauline's rating: 5 stars

Such gorgeous writing in this novel set in the late neolithic period, when all tools and weapons are made of the stones referenced in the title. Narrated by a daugher and her father, who has lost part of his arm in a conflict over flint, and then becomes the village storyteller, because he is no longer suited for other work. In order to expand his repertoire of stories, he must leave their home and travel and see what's outside their immediate are...more
Nancy
This author amazes me with his talent. He takes subjects that I would not even begin to find interesting and keeps me spell-bound with his poetic prose, his...objective detail of sad and horrible things. I first read "Being Dead" by him, then "Quarantine" and now this book. I don't think he has universal appeal, but for anyone who admires the craft of writing, Crace is a must-read. I should have given all his books 5 stars..but it has taken me a while to truly grasp his literary gift.

The other a...more
da-wildchildz
But all he saw were horses in the wind, the tide in loops upon the beach, the spray-wet rocks and stones reflecting all the changes in the sky, and no one there to notice or applaud.

Last line from The Gift of Stones by Jim Crace. An intriguing story told by different narrators, which demonstrates the art of storytelling. It’s almost devised as a game of Chinese whispers, and makes you question everything you read. The cusp between the Stone and Bronze age, when the novel’s set provided an inter...more
Ed And
Set before the age of bronze, this story centers around a community of stone workers who live in a village by the sea. They are wealthy and complacent and secure in their superior craftsmanship. A one-armed boy ventures beyond the confines of the village and returns with enchanting tales. At some point he brings back with him a woman and her child and his life and the village is forever changed. I love Crace's writing and his haunting stories are packed with striking images. Not of action, so mu...more
Yak
Interesting little book set in the Stone Age, full of allegory and poetical prose. It seems to be impossible to set a novel in prehistoric times without plenty of symbolism and reference to modern issues -- or maybe it's just me. I'm reminded of one of Jack London's more obscure novels, "Before Adam," and to a lesser extent Paleolithic Porn (Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear" series, memorable for its heroine's resourceful invention of the world's first diaphragm). Or maybe the Flintstones.
Cliff
Not bad. Interesting and some good turns of phrase. I didn't feel transported, but it was an engaging read with an interesting narrative style.
1 minute ago · delete
Sue
Didn't really care for this book.
Matthew Phillips
I really enjoyed this book. Although the story is simple and uncomplicated it is nonetheless very thought provoking. The author successfully brings to life a world at the very beginnings of human history. It vividly describes an environment rich with different varieties of wildlife; where food literally appeared at one's feet. But this is also a harsh and unforgiving world where the human realities of greed and violence exist too.
lorena boyd
Interesting book, the writing style is very different. The ending made an impression on me and I couldn't stop thinking about the book the whole day.
SP
A great book. Short but powerful. Who could have thought that a story set in the late Stone Age could feel so alive and be so lively. The Gift of Stones is more than a journey into time (fascinating though that is). It's about the power of story-telling. And is an examination into human nature and its aversion and adaptability to change.
summer61
The author says a whole lot with spare, elegant prose. The story of civilizations and change is encompassed in a small stone-age village of knappers -- craftsmen who make tools from stone -- and a couple of misfits, including a storyteller who delights in teasing you to decide whether he's lying or telling the truth. Excellent read.
Susan
Jim Crace is an amazing writer. In The Gift of Stones he creates a vivid world at the end of the Stone Age. There are larger social comments being made in this story, as well as the wonderful story of the individuals. The writing is spare but Crace is very skilled at forging connections. Brilliant.
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13843
James "Jim" Crace is a contemporary English writer. The winner of numerous awards, Crace also has a large popular following. He currently lives in the Moseley area of Birmingham with his wife. They have two children, Thomas Charles Crace (born 1981) and the actress Lauren Rose Crace, who played Danielle Jones in EastEnders.

Crace grew up with his siblings Richard, Cyril, and Graham in Forty Hill, a...more
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