Jim Crace (Jim James Crace) Biography
(1946– ), (Jim James Crace), Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress
British novelist and short-story writer, born in Hertfordshire, educated at Birmingham College of Commerce and at London University. He worked for some time in educational television in the Sudan, and settled in Birmingham. His first full-length work was Continent (1986; Whitbread Prize), a collection of seven loosely connected but thematically interlinked stories from fictitious regions of an imaginary Third World, which blend folklore, anthropology, fable, and parable in a contemporary meditation on the people and cultures of developing countries and their relation to the developed world. The Gift of Stones (1988), set in the Stone Age at the dawn of the Bronze Age, and seen through the eyes of the one-armed ‘story-teller’ narrator and his adopted daughter, shows the plight of the simple tribe of ‘stoneys’ whose skill and expertise in fashioning flint is threatened by new technology. The prose is spare and lyrical, and the element of parable is subtly absorbed into the human narrative. Arcadia (1992) is a futuristic fable about the condition of cities in the late twentieth century, while Signals of Distress (1994) is a naturalistic exploration of the events that occur in a West Country town in the 1830s, when a ship runs aground.