Review of The Gift of Stones by Jim Crace

Cover - The Gift of Stones
Cover – The Gift of Stones

The Gift of Stones by Jim Crace

📖 This is such an unusual little book; I’ve never read anything quite like it. This book is inspired by the stone age, or I guess more accurately the transition from the stone age to the iron age. It follows the story of a young boy who is shot in the elbow by an arrow. As a young man he is feeling quite inadequate to help out in the village he sets of wandering and comes back home to tell his stories full of adventure. Soon, the village is captured by his tales.

✍️The village itself exists as a hub for working stones into weapons which are then traded by passers-by for food and other things. As this trade begins to dwindle, the village needs to address what they need to do to survive and perhaps they might need to learn to be more like the brave storyteller.

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

Give us the details, we, his audience, would say. Tell us once again how your blood flowed like a cliff spring down your arm, into the sling, onto the scallops, how the landscape turned from bracken-brown to red, how the bracts on the under-leaves stuck to the thickening blood as you toppled from the rock. Tell us, too, about the rich foliage that would have grown, coddled, germinated by the blood. What mushrooms, toadstools; what grubs, what flies, might have flourished there if you had simply fallen and not staggered to your feet again?

👫 Character(s): The story primarily follows the tales of “father”, “daughter” and Doe. The narrator is primarily “daughter” telling of her father’s story and how he came to meet Doe and their life together.

💭 Overall View: Told in simply constructed prose, this is an odd, beautifully written book about storytelling, imagination, disability and people’s resistance to change. It had a charm throughout it although the underlying story of uncertainty for the villager’s future was present. I’ll certainly look forward to reading more of this author’s works.

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