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Review: Harvest by Jim Crace

HarvestThe inhabitants of the small English village, so meager that it does not even have a name, are celebrating the end of the annual harvest. It is a rare moment of carefree pleasure for the families who eke a living growing crops and grazing their animals on the common land they have lived on “since Adam”.

But the arrival of a surveyor, taking stock and drawing maps of the land, creates a cloying atmosphere of anxiety and gossip. Then fire destroys the stable block and outbuildings belonging to the benign Master Kent, who owns the fields and effectively the village. A ragtag mob sets off following the thin ribbon of smoke rising from a lean-to on the edge of the common. The strangers make ready culprits. The two men ending up in to stocks, the enigmatic woman, shorn but free.

Crace’s Harvest, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, is set in an unspecified year during


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