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Harvest

by Jim Crace

This is truly a book for our times. It shows what happens when landlords and owners put profits before people, in the name of so-called progress. Before this, I read about the enclosures as a historical process, with people being driven from their land so that the aristocracy and gentry could profit from introducing sheep. Jim Crace has made be angry. And determined that, like Joe Hill, 'what they forgot to kill went on to organise'.

Extract

What matters most for now is that my master is allowed to stay. It is not the cousin's wish to be 'a country mouse', he said. He would prefer to remain in a great merchant house in his great market town and simply check the figures once in a while: what rough wool from these old fields has arrived in his warehouse. what cloth his hired women have woven on their looms, what varying profits have been made from selling their worsted, twill or fustian, their pickthread and their petersham, and what profits have been lost to greedy shearmen and staplers, cheating chapmen and lazy fullers, tuckers and dyers.

Parallels

Akenfield by Ronald Blythe
Snake Ropes by Jess Richards
Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna
 

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