MUST READ: Arcadia | india | Hindustan Times
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MUST READ: Arcadia

Arcadia is a deep reminiscent bass of inevitability. The magic of Arcadia lies in its narrative.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 14:31 IST

Arcadia
Jim Crace
Price — £ 6.99
Publication — Penguin

Forget the story. And listen to the cold drawling voice emanating from the wings of civilisation. It is like listening to shards of glass as they scatter on the concrete floors on a silent night. It is like the passing whisper of a forgotten past, the silence of falling leaves, the force of gale force winds transformed into a gentle breeze.

Arcadia
is the voice of understanding and reason in a city where dreams rise and fall like tidal waves scattered upon cobbled pavements. It is not a voice far away or one that startles. It is a deep reminiscent bass of inevitability. The magic of Arcadia lies in its narrative.

The story takes a defeated second place having been torn to shreds by the tone of its narration. It’s a regular rags to riches story one is so content with reading. Perhaps because of the hopes it ignites in us. Yet the cruelty and the benevolence of the city is etched in the Soap market where self made millionaire Victor grew up.

This is where his mother begged and where she died. This is where Victor staggered out with his first consignment of boiled eggs to sell to the world. His wares, his neighbour’s wares, all that crowded this market was the microcosm in which the life of the city is played out.

An eighty-year-old Victor wrapped within the confines of glass and controlled climate decides to create a monument to his name. It would provide a link drawing a thread from his past and to his present. He would call it Arcadia. Yet it is not the building that holds centrestage, but the journey of Victor.

At times even that appears frivolous to the wheels of the city that turns fortunes and weaves lives. Arcadia is the smell, sights and feel of what comprises a city and its people.