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All That Follows by Jim Crace
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All That Follows

by Jim Crace

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A fantastic novel about a saxophone player set in the near future. Leonard is stuck in a rut and needs to do something to revive his relationship with his wife. The novel starts slowly but gets going and is a joyful tale about how Leonard starts something and then is pushed further. The narrative is linear through time. Jim Crace tells the experience of playing the sax and jazz beautifully. He imagines a world where resources are valued and security is tight; this is a world not too difficult to imagine. The novel is funny and beautifully constructed and written. A tight and enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote Tifi | Jun 16, 2015 |
An interesting book juxtaposing jazz with fringe politics and family life, and plenty of insight into modern society. The future setting seems there largely to give the right distance between the two halves of the story - Crace's future Britain doesn't require any great imaginative leaps. Like everything I've read by Jim Crace, it is beautifully written too. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 11, 2014 |
At times this book reminded me of Ian McEwan’s ‘Enduring Love’ – the part where Joe Rose, the protagonist buys a gun. It’s meant to be the adventurous part of the novel as Rose mixes with criminals but it doesn’t work. And I don’t think the plot of Crace’s book works either. While you do expect the protagonist to have flaws, Lessing’s chronic weakness, his lack of impetus, being just an armchair socialist, continues for too much of the novel. It’s disengaging to have to focus on such a character trying to keep out of risky situations. I could recognise Lessing’s weakness in myself and no doubt it’s in many others but that doesn’t make it a trait on which to base a book. And the redemption is all rather manufactured and unlikely – it seems to be a world of delusion, not, I think, what Crace meant unless he sees Lessing’s hero status in an ironical way and the reader is meant to look wryly at how Lessing finds adherents.

Obviously Crace really likes the saxophone, woven as it is into the threads of the book and used to define Lessing’s character – enjoying the innovation while being able to fall back on more conventional pieces – i.e. wanting to be daring but managing it rarely and then replaying this literally and in his head. In the end this is rather a sad book, both in what it shows about people and in the way it’s so anticlimactic. Of course, Crace's other books don’t have a lot of tension in them but then the characterisation seems so much more gripping and they don’t have what amount to unconvincing and rather silly plots. ( )
1 vote evening | Mar 1, 2014 |
Set in an Autumnal future, All that follows, enmeshes us in the life of Leonard Lessing. He a jazz saxophonist grappling with turning 50, a buggered right shoulder and the realisation that he will never be like his hero who fought in the International Brigade.

Leonard is drawn into the events surrounding a hostage taking, where a figure from his past is one of the hostage takers.

Interesting things about this realistic novel are the inclusion of small futuristic accents and the black humour. The focus of this novel is Leonard's impressions; I feel my library is a bit hopeful when it stuck a THR on this book's spine. This is not really a plot driven novel in the way thriller fans would expect. ( )
  rhondagrantham | Aug 29, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I own a couple of other Jim Crace books, "Being Dead" and "Quarantine," but this was my first experience reading his work. I normally enjoy reading stories that are placed in the future, but in this book, that seemed to secondary to the protagonist's identity as a jazz musician, to the point that I wondered why Crace decided to place the story in the future. I like music, but I got tired of all of the musical references. It reminded me of "Netherland" in which Joseph O'Neill seemed to go overboard re: all the references to cricket. It didn't help that I didn't find Crace's protagonist very likable or interesting. Although it's clear that Crace knows how to write, this storyline was not very engaging. If this had not been a LibraryThing Early Reviewers book, I doubt I would have finished it. ( )
  juli1357 | Dec 30, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Crace’s decision to give this Walter Mitty an entire novel to hiccup and stumble through is a risk: when Len apologizes to a Texan who has just punched him in the head, you’re ready to punch him yourself. But the book is not without its unexpected accents—a sinuous evocation of the saxophone, futuristic touches such as dementia-preventing cigarettes, and a tender portrait of Len’s faltering marriage—and eventually the antihero’s frantic improvisations begin to sound like music.
added by Shortride | editThe New Yorker (May 10, 2010)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038552076X, Hardcover)

The prodigiously talented Jim Crace has returned with a new novel that explores the complexities of love and violence with a scenario that juxtaposes humor and human aspiration. 

British jazzman Leonard Lessing spent a memorable yet unsuccessful few days in Austin, Texas, trying to seduce a woman he fancied. During his stay, he became caught up in her messy life, which included a new lover, a charismatic but carelessly violent man named Maxie.
 
Eighteen years later, Maxie enters Leonard’s life again, but this time in England, where he is armed and holding hostages. Leonard must decide whether to sit silently by as the standoff unfolds or find the courage to go to the crime scene where he could potentially save lives. The lives of two mothers and two daughters—all strikingly independent and spirited—hang in the balance.
 
Set in Texas and the suburbs of England, All That Follows is a novel in which tender, unheroic moments triumph over the more strident and aggressive facets of our age.
 
It also provides moving and surprising insights into the conflict between our private and public lives and redefines heroism in this new century. It is a masterful work from one of Britain’s brightest literary lights.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

British jazzman Leonard Lessing has spent a memorable yet unsuccessful few days in Austin, Texas, trying to seduce a woman he fancied. During his stay, he became caught up in her messy life, which included a new lover, a charismatic but carelessly violent man named Maxie. Eighteen years later, Maxie enters Leonard's life again, but this time in England, where he is armed and holding hostages. Leonard must decide whether to sit silently by as the standoff unfolds or find the courage to go to the crime scene where he could potentially save lives, as only someone who knows Maxie can. The lives of two mothers and two daughters - all strikingly independent and spirited - hang in the balance.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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