Genesis A Novel

Jim Crace




Trade Paperback

256 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book
A Los Angeles Times Best Book

Actor Felix "Lix" Dern seems to lead the perfect life. Handsome and charming, he's adored and admired by his fans for his looks, for his voice, for his talent, and for his unblemished private life. He has succeeded in courting popularity everywhere—he's the hero of the left and the darling of the right, an ever-twisting weather vane who is celebrated wherever he goes.

But Lix guards a secret he believes has blighted his existence since he was a teenager: every woman he sleeps with eventually bears his child. Soon to be a father for the sixth time, Lix feels besieged. To be so fertile is a curse. With this sixth birth looming, he finds himself forced to focus on his ambivalent relationships with the mothers of his other children, from the women with whom he's had brief affairs to those he's loved, like unassuming, quietly determined Alicja or outspoken, audacious Freda. These musings lead him in turn to consider his interactions with his children, and his often complicated connection to their lives.

In this darkly humorous story, Jim Crace charts the sexual history of a loving, baffled man, the sexual emancipation of a city, and the sexual ambiguities of humankind.


Praise for Genesis

"A paean to sexual possibility and everyday ardor . . . A book that finds poetry in the real world."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Crace is one of the most stunningly original novelists writing today . . . [Genesis] is a banquet of delicious aphorisms . . . Crace once again dazzles readers with a fresh, wry slant on something that does indeed happen anywhere and everywhere, day after day, eon after eon: new life."—Helen McAlpin, Los Angeles Times

"Crace is unquestionably one of the most inventive novelists writing in English today . . . This is a book rich in the ways that lust beguiles, seduces, frustrates, and subjugates us."—Dan Cryer, Newsday

"[Crace] is a stylist who makes prose sizzle."—Steven G. Kellman, San Francisco Chronicle

"Crace can be depended upon for an elegance of language . . . There's no doubting [his] powers of invention as a writer."—Anthony Quinn, The New York Times Book Review

"Crace writes well. His novels marry invention and description so convincingly that even his slightest works [convey] the weight of a created world."—Benjamin Markovits, The Times Literary Supplement

"[Genesis] will wrap readers in splendor, misfortune, and allure."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Surveying the great dance of sex and procreation, Crace's erotically charged eighth zeroes in on one freakishly fertile individual: another dazzling, imaginative feast from this British author . . . It's no secret by 6now that Crace is one of England's finest. His prose is rich yet lean as he dives into life's chaos, surfacing, every time, with the mot juste."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The protean British writer, whose time and place settings have ranged from the Stone Age (The Gift of Stones) and 40 days in the Judean desert (Quarantine) to the past lives of two decomposing bodies in present-day England (Being Dead), here creates a world very much like ours, but different in subtle ways calculated to unnerve the reader. The protagonist is an actor named Felix Dern, a/k/a Lix, and the unnamed country in which he lives is a menacing place. The army and police have put down bank riots and quashed a popular uprising; the ancient medieval city, once called City of Kisses, is zoned, with restrictions on travel. Yet Lix lives a charmed life. Despite the innate caution—approaching timidity—of his personality, he's had a brilliant career. Now middle-aged and embarked on his second marriage, he's drawn into a dangerous revolutionary plot by a former lover, the mother of one of his children . . . Crace's tone throughout is cool and non-judgemental. His characters' foibles elicit witty aphorisms . . . The inescapable results of Lix's determination to avoid any kind of heroic behavior, countered by his inadvertent success at fathering new lives, create a slightly surreal atmosphere of simmering suspense . . . In the end, the reader's realization that Lix is an exemplar of the common man [is] what gives the narrative its memorable metaphorical impact."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Lix left it late. Till November 1979. He was almost twenty-one and it was nearly midnight when he first had sex with anyone. Full docking sex, that is. Full snug-'n'-comfy. Like almost everybody else his age, of course, he'd had hand jobs, not only with himself since he was twelve but twice with helpful boys at school and once (a birthday treat when he was seventeen) with an unsuspicious girl, one of nature's volunteers. Her first time with a boy. She'd seemed surprised at what she'd done, at what she'd made him do, and with such little exertion. She jumped back just in time, so that only
Read the full excerpt


  • Jim Crace

  • Jim Crace is the author of several previous novels, including Quarantine, which won the Whitbread Novel Award; Being Dead, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; and The Devil's Larder. He lives in Birmingham, England.
  • Jim Crace




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