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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  440 ratings  ·  35 reviews
As his assistant plans a baccanalian fete to celebrate his employer's eightieth birthday, Victor, a man who rose from dire poverty to immense wealth, makes plans of his own. ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published October 23rd 1992 by Atheneum Books (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  440 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-novels
An interesting novel with a great deal going on beneath the surface. Victor is an aging millionaire, a self made man living in the penthouse of the skyscraper he owns in an unnamed city. His origins lie in the countryside; after his father's early death his mother brings him as a baby to the city where she begs for food in the market area of the city using Victor as a draw. His mother dies, but Victor survives, eventually making his fortune through the market, which he now owns.
Victor's right ha
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Arcadia refers to a new Mall that is to replace an old market in a fictional town. The story describes, in more or less detail, the lives of some of the parties involved. While the story is mildly interesting, the characters are not really. Still, not a bad read.
This work of fiction by the contemporary English Author, Jim Crace is definitely different. It is set in an unnamed place and is told by an unnamed journalist who tells the story of an aging millionaire’s quest to build a commercial center that will embrace the pastoral idyll. The beginning introduces us to Victor the millionaire and his able assistant Rook. The middle section is the story of Victor’s youth and the last part is the actual story of Victor’s vision and the building of the commerci ...more
Lauren Albert
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
At just under 350 pages, Crace's Arcadia still manages to feel epic in scale. I think that while many see Arcadia as an allegory of country versus city, it is more about vibrant life versus deathly artifice. “We flock in to the city," writes Crace,"because we wish to dwell in hope. And hope—not gold—is what they pave the cities with.” In creating Arcadia, Victor has (temporarily) given a death blow to that hope for those in the market. With mordant irony, Crace shows how the lowly sparrows, temp ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Don't own a copy of this, but it is one of those rare books whose memory continues to haunt me and that I should like to hunt down and reread at least partially one day. ...more
Grada (BoekenTrol)
A book that I liked a lot. It wasn't an easy read (whether that was because I hadn't read German for a long time or the style of writing, I don't know).
A book that was unlike any I read before, at least as far as I can remember. It contained an interesting story, that was well told.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jim Crace never disappoints. In both 'Harvest' and 'Gift of Stones' he explores societal change and it's impact on the populace. In 'Arcadia', likewise, we see a societal change once more. A modern city (presumably somewhere in Europe - it is intentionally left vague) has an old central produce market in the heart of it. On the perimeter of it stands a high rise office tower owned by the man (Victor) who rose from very humble beginnings in the market to become the main power broker over it and o ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read about Victor, an eighty year old millionaire who grew up from being a beggar in an old market place to being a very good businessman. He fortune began when he was left to himself as a boy under ten years old, selling produce in the marketplace. Well written, descriptive passages about the old marketplace versus the newer market places. Other characters include Rook, who was Victor's market manager, Anna, another employee of Victor's, Joseph, a young lout and Con, a marketeer who is d ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crace is a cracking writer stylistically although he never produces characters I can wholly get to grips with. His pacing can be slow too. As with most of Crace's work, time and place are not obvious, it feels Italian / Mediterranean possibly 1930s or 50s in feel and culture. It is not a cheerful read the crushing of a people under controlling capitalism. ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Jim Crace a great deal, and his Gift of Stones remains one of my favorite books. This is a long string of mellifluous prose about bucolic fruitselling. But it's excessive in that way that the Met or a renaissance palace is excessive. I recommend it only if you like Jim Crace and mellifluous descriptions of bucolic fruitselling. ...more
Miss H
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love everything by Jim Crace and this was no exception. Whilst not as fantastic as Harvest, Being Dead or The Pesthouse, this was nevertheless engrossing and fantastically written. He creates a word so easily.
Brian Delaney
I'm a fan of Jim Crace and I love the worlds and the characters he creates, including the ones here. But really, it was just too long. Too many long descriptive paragraphs and I was impatient for action and plot development.

It won't stop me reading more of his work though.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing I like about Jim Crace is that no two books that he writes are alike so it’s always interesting to see what he’ll come up with. To date I’ve read three of his novels ; Being Dead (which I enjoyed) Quarantine ( I rate this one highly) and The Devil’s Larder ( mixed reactions) and now Arcadia.

At this point I’m finding it difficult to actually explain clearly what Arcadia is actually about. On the surface it’s about an 80-year-old millionaire, Victor , who wants to demolish a Market Place
Janice Windle
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book riveting to read. Its poetic flow - to the point where I found myself noting rhymes and loving the rhythm of each paragraph - carried me along, through the many scenes evoked in the course of developing the story of a traditional vegetable market and its denizens. Victor, the man who grew up there from rags to riches and owes to it his millions, decides on his eightieth birthday to change it beyond recognition, putting paid to the chances of anyone else rising through associati ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list-books
A funny little book, not at all what I expected from well, judging the book by it's cover, and a slight misunderstanding of exactly which modern day Crace wrote it. Victor is an old man, about to celebrate his birthday, looking back on a life which started in poverty and ended in extreme wealth. His personal story parallels that of the market he grew up in, and it's coming transformation into Arcadia. In the meantime, his conniving butler Rook gets into trouble for underhand dealings, and tries ...more
Peta Watson
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure I would like this book, although Jim Crace has never let me down so far. I am pleased to say, he still hasn't.

It was a great read - almost quaint. I am not sure where it was set( I envisaged London, while I was reading it, but it could have been anywhere)or the year, however that unknowing really does not impact in any way on the events that occur.

The story revolves around the life of an old and wealthy self-made man with not much time left, who wants to leave his mark on the city
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an epic, but because it's Crace it still manages to be rather short. The whole work balance between the quotidian and the alien. Things and events are familiar, but you're not sure exactly where you are or when this is taking place. It is this approach which takes Crace's story of a fruit market and elevates it beyond a simple parable of the machinations of capitalism. The story pulsates with something more timeless, the pettiness and selfishness and need for gratification which drives p ...more
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third Jim Crace book I have read (Quarantine and Pesthouse are the other two). He is such a diverse writer, none of the three novels I have read are alike.

Arcadia is an intricate view of what makes people who they are and how their background drives what they become and perhaps ultimately how they behave and why they make the decisions that they do

If you haven't read Jim Crace before this might be a good place to start
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This book ties into some of my issues with neighborhoods changing over time and urban renewal so as the book went on and that thesis was more developed I found it more meaningful. To start with, I found the book a little dry but then it grew on me. The prose is good, but I am not sure I agree with the reviews that trumpeted its lushness of language, etc. - it was good, but I have read more beautifully crafted wordsmithing.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: depression era readers, Crace fans, fiction lovers
Recommended to Akkire55 by: Jason Nelson
Shelves: reads-of-08
Again,I wonder if I missed allegories in this seemingly straightforward novel. This was Crace's second novel, and is very different than the later two I read (Quarantine, Being Dead). There definitely was some deeper ideas on age and society, city vs country, but the plot was hard for me to engage with in order to search and construct these hidden lessons. ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Jim Crace and am slowly reading my way through all of the novels he's written, but this is not one of his better ones. If you've never read Crace and would like to (and I would certainly suggest that you do!) I would not recommend this as your first selection. Better to read Being Dead or Signals of Distress. ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
You like slow novels? This is the book for you! I have read and liked other Crace novels, but I had a hard time with this one. None of the characters are engaging or likable and even the crafted prose is chilly and hard to warm up to. Signals of Distress and Being Dead are better books if you want to read something by this author.
Mar 26, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction, 1001
Very appears I have read this book, or at least made it to page 55 as I have marked a word for my word list (sodality), which since said word never made to the list maybe I didn't get much past page 55 either...

I may try again some day, or not. The back cover was mildly intriguing, the first page more so, however, flipping in at random did not bring me to any pages I want to turn.
Jennifer Norman
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fine novel from Jim Crace

I love Jim Crace's poetic and enigmatic writing. This is the 3rd of his novels that I have read. My favourite is definitely Harvest so far but I have so enjoyed Arcadia and The Gift of Stones as well. I will read everything he has written.
Such wonderful food for thought.
Kris McCracken
Arcadia evokes the pastoral tradition of novels, but then challenges and subverts it. While I admired much of the writing, the fact that I was unable to warm to any (yes ANY) of the characters undermines my enjoyment of it.

It reminded me of some of JG Ballard's books, in that while the coldness rings true, it doesn't make one too keen to read on.
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
1992 notebook: liked a lot of this but was slightly irritated by the tone, the nudging questions - and how should a man like Rook react to this? Does he crumble, does he... a lot of this, and too obvious pointers. Full of nice touches, though.
I like Crace a lot, but reading too many of his books in a row is like eating too much candy.
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed & inscribed by author
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Luscious language. The sort of book that you want to read aloud.
Paige Nick
every book of his i read just gets better and better. the most poetic book i've ver read. every sentence a work of art. wow. ...more
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Reading 1001: Arcadia - Jim Crace 2 11 Jun 17, 2019 09:58PM  

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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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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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