Jay Daze's Reviews > Quarantine

Quarantine by Jim Crace
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's review
Aug 16, 09

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Read in August, 2009

Giving things up, making a sacrifice to better oneself -- the idea that the spirit benefits from the renunciation of the merely physical. Five characters go into the wilderness - each one seeking something. But a warning, one of them is named Jesus.

(I should insert here that I picked this up cold at the book store and didn't realize that Jesus was going to be a character in the book. Historical personages as main characters in novels usually give me a pain, but I enjoyed Crace's language so I continued on.)

Yup, the big J himself makes his presence felt in this novel and by the second half pretty much takes over, which is a shame because I thought the rest of the characters and their own small scale struggles were pretty interesting. Crace tries to batten down Jesus, make him a confused, idealistic, romantic young man -- but Jesus Christ! he's Jesus and all the accumulated tradition of Christendom pretty much swamps what happens with the young Galilean. At a certain point I was shaking my head because the novel reminded me of the latest Star Trek reboot -- will Crace mess with the traditional time-line and let J die in his cave or will he let J live to complete what happens in the original series (you know those books in the bible). Well, he does a little of both, but really all this wiggling spoiled what would have been a stronger book about the lost souls in the other caves, nasty the Merchant who exploits them and his abused wife Miri.

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Reading Progress

08/10/2009 page 31
12.11% "Hey, Jesus showed up about 10 pages ago! Don't you just hate it when that happens?"
08/10/2009 page 40
15.63% "Intro'd to the other four Qs, Marta (thinks she's infertile), blonde Shim (searching for Tranquility), Alpas (come to die)& badu villiager."
08/10/2009 page 61
23.83% ""Musa's adolescent, reedy voice" A spoiled brat full of lust for Marta and greed for others gold. Master bargainer..."
08/10/2009 page 75
29.3% "Jesus' question for the wilderness: "You see these motes of dust...these fingertips engraved with tiny lines? What for, and why?""
08/10/2009 page 76
29.69% "J has expected Gd to smooth the way for him, this is his introduction to the hardness of the world?"
08/10/2009 page 77
30.08% "J wonders: is this the edge of god's unfinished universe? Was there god? Was this the devil's realm."
08/10/2009 page 83
32.42% "*g* They just threw a dead donkey at Jesus! And he was hoping for a companion, a guide..."
08/11/2009 page 112
43.75% "J sees: "Here was a devil then, sent to the wilderness...attended by four mad unbelonging souls to be adversaries to god.""
08/11/2009 page 112
43.75% "I don't think we're supposed to take Jesus' words as gospel...at least not the character Jesus in this book."
08/13/2009 page 159
62.11% "Double chapters with J. His body's descent - him realizing how stupid to try 40 days with water or food. But trapped on the ledge."
08/14/2009 page 212
82.81% "*SPOILER* So J the man dies and the glowy J goes off to be the son of god? Rather suspected I was going into the metaphorically-mystic."

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