if you have read the road, you don’t really need to read this. this was to be jim crace’s third strike from me. and i don’t dislike jim crace, it’s just i wasn’t wowed by either quarantine or being dead. his style is not embracing—it has the same detached, clinical style as hustvedt, which does not cuddle me, as a reader. i need literary slankets that cover all my parts and transport me (but leave my arms free to wave about)(did i just go on about slankets recently in another review?…i feel like i did. they fascinate me) he isn’t a bad writer by any stretch, this is just another example of Books That Aren’t For Me. it takes place in a blighted america, many generations removed from an unexplained event that destroyed everything. what is left struggles to survive and find love and meaning and all the things people usually struggle to find in post-apocalyptic fiction. the best part is the quasi-religious anti-metal community that evolved around the “helpless gentlemen,” who are old men who do not use their hands because of their beliefs and live in an ark that supports pilgrims waiting for boats to take them to a better place, they expect. these weak-armed, metal-shunning people were the most interesting characters in the book, but it was only an interlude in the story, unfortunately. for some reason, they reminded me of a joke from electric company magazine when i was a tot: where does admiral ackbar keep his armies?? huh?? wanna guess?? IN HIS SLEEEEEVIES!!! oh, the tears of laughter…so that’s my review. i think me and jim crace are over now. like a junior high school boyfriend, i barely remember him.