Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Harvest is a work of historical fiction, it’s English setting highlighting the effects of post-isolationism following the Enclosure Act of 1773. An agrarian village, with families dwelling there for centuries, finds itself in upheaval as its lands are to be parceled, a new master is moving in, and strangers suddenly appear in the local forest. Fear and violence ensue, amid Crace’s beautiful metaphors and images.
The novel was a slow read for me, not only for the haunting language, but because Crace crafted a book heavy on symbolism and light on engaging characters. The story line was a good one, but without the pull of sympathy, wasn’t enough to draw me in. Lastly, I couldn’t help feeling a bit of a lecture here and it rubbed me the wrong way. I’m sure there are no end of reviewers claiming modern metaphors with Black Lives Matter, Immigration or other “different” social groups such as the LGBT crowd. Maybe you will relish the chance to wave that flag of modern political correctness, but I find it tiring.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013