Upon publication of Harvest
, Jim Crace announced he is putting down his pen. Having published thirteen books, and winning many awards (including the Whitbread Prize three times), Crace, like Philip Roth before him, plans to move on.
The title of his final novel is apropos of both the theme of the story and the end of his writing career. It's symbolic of the work he's reaped in nearly thirty years of writing and the harsh reality of the new world order faced by his characters. The "harvest," in both cases, represents the end of one way of life and the start of another.
Even though Jim Crace says that the setting and time of this novel are deliberately vague, Harvest
would appear to be set in an insular medieval English village, probably around the 15th or 16th centuries when English wool became big business. The book opens during the final days of the...
Beyond the Book
Harvest seems to be set in an era when English society is evolving from use of land to grow crops to enclosed pastures for animals. What about this specific time period did you find compelling as a setting for your novel? Could it have been set in any other time and place?
The time period isn't all that specific, in fact. I wasn't trying to write a novel that was medieval or Tudor or Jacobean. If the novel has a "setting" at all then it's Shakespeare's England. So it's prose fiction based on stage fiction. But, if the exact time and location of...