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“Genesis” – by Jim Crace

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Crace’s newest book, which I labored to finish last night. How is it possible for a man to produce a work of art like “Quarantine,” his novel of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert that transformed him into the powerful figure he became, and then fall off so dramatically?

“Genesis” is the story of Felix “Lix” Dern, a successful actor/singer who harbors a dark secret: every woman he has slept with, since he was a teenager, has become pregnant with and born his child.

He feels that to be so fertile is a curse. He is besieged. He is baffled. In my opinion, he is stupid. I mean, get a clue, Felix, and buy some condoms, for Christ’s sake! From the book:

    Her perfect body was a disincentive: that’s something few women ever understand. It was not eloquent, not in itself, not even in the prospect of its nakedness. The body tells you nothing.

    It’s not the body but a woman’s ever undressed face that most men find enticing, the undefended and arousing glance that betrays exactly what the glancer sees in you, exactly what she’s found.

    The glance is more arousing than plain nakedness because the glance betrays its promises and pledges. The glance precipitates the futures that you share. A body can’t do that.

    **************

    Passion’s something that truly can’t be faked, not even on the stage or in films. An actor never quite captures the randomness, the disarray. So there can be nothing more honest and reassuring – in the short term – than a partner’s lust.

    These are the moments in your life that are sincere. You mean it, absolutely mean it, until the moment’s absolutely gone.

    ****************

    Desire was like a plant, he’d found. The more you watered it, the bigger and the thirstier it became, the more demanding and dissatisfied.

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