One of my lazy pleasures used to be reading at coffee shops. For years, I read the New York Times while having a cup of coffee and a piece of pie at the Beanery (later to become the Vox) in Moscow. I frequently would bring a book as well (or instead). But it's been a rare pleasure indeed since moving to and working in the Seattle area. Either I've worked a distance from an independent coffee shop, or I've been so busy that I haven't been able to take advantage of the proximity. I resolved several months ago to remedy that, but it's still taken me this long to follow through. But I managed to bring a satchel of books up to the U-district today and managed to read and finish one.
I didn't want to like Jim Crace's Being Dead through the first 40% of the book. Then I became entralled during the last half. It's the story of the week after Joseph and Celice are murdered on the beach where they first met 30 years prior. A story of their bodies. Interspersed are bits from their lives when they met, the day leading to their murder, and the reaction of their somewhat disaffected and wayward daughter Syl to their disappearance and death. It really isn't until the last half of the novel where Joseph and Celice become interesting people. Before that they are essentially boring middle aged zoologists re-living the original humdrum seduction that brought them together.
They never become exciting people, but their lives become interesting as we learn why they stayed away from that beach (a fire while they were on it fucking kills a companion). And Crace captures the resentful daughter like I haven't really seen anyone capture the early 20s before. There's not a lot of outward love between the characters, but there is a lot of tenderness and meaning to their relationships.