Books and Movies Reviews

The Affirmation of Love in

Jim Crace's novel Being Dead is not a story about the end to two lives.Rather, this provocative and haunting novel is an affirmation for the love of life as seen through three prisms:First, Joseph and Celice, the married zoologists who at the outset of the novel are found dead on a beach, their lifeless bodies decomposing were rekindling the love theyfirst shared when they met on the same spot thirty years earlier.Second, this is also the story of what happened during the six days between their discovery, a time when their daughter and friends searched for them. And, finally, it is also the tale of the slow disintegration of their bodies on the beach, and how the elements found in nature embrace them.It is a three-part love story. Crace writes: "Syl had to allow them this at least: her parents had surprised her this one time.Not just their murder. Not their nakedness. But that they had the power on their deaths, to flush her heart – too late-with love." (Crace 157) Yes, Syl's discovery of her "father's hand wrapped round her mother's leg" (156) had thrilled her. Her heart changed.More importantly, Being Dead is an affirmation of the love of life an unassuming couple, their estranged daughter and nature find together when fate crosses their paths.
The novel starts from the end to the beginning of it all. It begins by introducing the dreadful end of the lives of Joseph and Celice. The couple's bodies remain thrown along the dunes, almost embracing each other. They had been murdered in broad daylight, as they were remembering thefirst time they made love, "How unexpected, then, that these two, of all couples, should be found like this, without their underclothes, their heads caved in, unlikely victims of unlikely passions"(3). The novel travels back in time to show each step before it happens. Their bodies rested entwined and undetected. Although, never before…


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