J.M. Coetzee Watch #7

Short Reviews Julia Leigh, author of the new novel, Disquiet, calls Life and Times of Michael K. a Book of a Lifetime: "The ending left me in tears: here was something! This is what books were for! Looking back, I think I responded to Michael K's resolve, to his steadiness, his modest and determined way of being. And since that reading experience I've tried to read as much of Coetzee's oeuvre as I can." The "There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one" weblog looks at Foe, which "is not one of the novels to have brought him any of these prizes, and as far as I can see, it's lesser known though considered by many critics as the archetypal post-modern novel. Basically, the story is the reinvention of the classic Robinson Crusoe, with a woman as the central character...I wasn't exactly touched by it, though I'm not sure that this is what it's intended to do. There are a lot of issues to be discussed in reference to the novel -- colonialism, a woman's position in society, slavery and the art of writing in itself -- but what I did find overwhelming was Friday, not his character in particular, but the story of his mutilation." Ana Shirin Razi Rabi, on "In a Pineapple Under the Vast Sea" weblog finds a sense of the universal in Coetzee's work. "I've just finished reading Boyhood by J.M Coetzee and still couldn't believe that someone can write such a true representation of childhood. True enough, it was a story about a boy who grew up in South Africa in the 1940s and on the surface, that hardly creates any connection to myself. But as I dwelt further into the story, I realised that childood could easily be the most arrogant, selfish yet naive state of our lives, no matter when or where you've lived." On the "Glue and Scissors" weblog, discovers that "...Diary of a Bad Year was actually nothing like I expected. Was it disturbingly well written? Yes. Compelling and thought provoking? Absolutely. But a grab-you-by-the-stomach, heart-wrenching, can't-get-out-of-the-chair read? No." Interviews Coetzee is interviewed by The Humane Society of the United States about the ongoing Canadian Seal Hunt.
HSUS: Societal oppression of both people and animals has been a recurring theme in your novels. Do you see a connection between violence towards people and violence towards animals? JMC: That is not a connection I care to make. In the first place, quite pacific societies slaughter animals on a large scale. In the second place, if we are going to reform our behavior toward animals we should not be doing so for some ulterior motive, e.g. reforming our behavior toward members of our own species.
Festivals Coetzee will attend the New Writing literary festival in Norwich, UK, from June 15 to June 20 this year. Other You can read Coetzee's English translation of Ten Ways of Looking at PB Shelley by Dutch poet Hugo Claus. A J.M. Coetzee bibliography is maintained by the Swedish academy.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 15, 2008 10:33 AM.

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