A divorced, middle-aged English professor finds himself increasingly unable to resist affairs with his female students. When discovered by the college authorities, he is expected to apologise and repent in an effort to save his job, but he refuses to become a scapegoat in what he see as as a show trial designed to reinforce a stringent political correctness. He preempts the authorities and leaves his job, and the city, to spend time with his grown-up lesbian daughter on her remote farm. Things between them are strained - there is much from the past they need to reconcile - and the situation becomes critical when they are the victims of a brutal and horrifying attack. In spectacularly powerful and lucid prose, Coetzee uses all his formidable skills to engage with a post-apartheid culture in unexpected and revealing ways. This examination into the sexual and politcal lawlines of modern South Africa as it tries desperately to start a fresh page in its history is chilling, uncompromising and unforgettable.
About The Author J.M. Coetzee's work includes Waiting For the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.
I went through my English classes at school using the word 'lyrical' for prose. Five years out of school, I never could fathom how 'prose' could be 'lyrical'. Disgrace, among its crowning glories is a lyrical book. Coetzee uses simple words and small sentences, yet weaving a magic of laconic precision which only literature lovers are capable of.
I enjoyed the story, primarily David's defiance to accept his indulgence in Melanie as university heresy. Never is he described as a particularly handsome man; tall and dark, yes but charismatic,no. The book reads in a very relaxed tone, even through major moments like David's resignation and his daughter's physical ciolation. The only time that I was alarmed was when David's lesbian daughter's juvenile rapist comes to live on her estate and she barely reacts. I would have loved it to end with the punishment of the daughter's rapists but it did not, making me even more respectful of Coetzee's affection for reality.
The only part that I did not enjoy as much as the rest of the book is Lurie's soliloquies about Lord Byron and his forlorn lover. I guess it was because I am not at all acquainted with the literature of ancient and middle ages and also literature from the Isles of Wright.
This is a good book and a small one too. Transaction with Infibeam was quick and hasslefree, as always.
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