The Gift of Stones

Just added Jim Crace’s The Gift of Stones to my book recommendations list. I bow down to Mr Crace’s ability and am going to add to my to-read list everything else he has ever written!

Note my book recommendations list now has new formatting!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at My old book review webpage is no longer up, but I’ve pasted the text of my review below.]

I have always thought that someone should write a believeable story about early human life. I had no idea it had already been done, and breathtakingly. The Gift of Stones is set during the Stone Age, in a coastal village whose wealth and well-being come from the inhabitants’ ability to shape stone into tools. One boy of this village, an orphan, is brutally wounded and disabled at a young age, thereby rendering him unfit for stonework. He wanders the coastline, tasting what the world outside his village has to offer, coming back to his community as a gifted storyteller with fantastic tales of what lies beyond.

Classification: The pace of this story is simultaneously slow and rapid, allowing room for the quirks of storytelling but still describing events of great urgency and adventure. It manages to be thoughtful and even gentle, but unflinching, in telling of both beauty and violence. This book is the greatest paean to the storyteller’s art I have ever encountered, and may well be the most evocative story I have ever read. In reading it, I would allow ample time to finish it (it’s not long) in one sitting, so you can fully immerse yourself in its world. It takes a little while to feel yourself move so far back in time, but the transition is natural and amazing.


4 responses to “The Gift of Stones

  1. What an interesting premise. Though, to be honest, I’d pick this book up and read it just because of the title. Nice review.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I haven’t read this book since I wrote the review in 2003 so I don’t know if I’d still feel the same way about it now, but I’m so glad I saved my old reviews. This one makes me think I should go get some more Jim Crace from the library (as I said I would do, and never did!).

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