J.M. Coetzee Watch #10

Various Web Notes

The reviews of the Philip Glass opera Waiting for the Barbarians, based on Coetzee's novel of the same name, continue with this Steven Ritter piece in "Audiophile Audition".
In "The Guardian", Tim Parks picks the top 10 20th century political novels, which includes Life and Times of Michael K., but nothing by Orwell, which seems a little strange.
Back in 2005, in the same paper, Segun Afolabi picked the same novel as one of the top 10 "on the move" books.
In an essay about the business of book blurbs in "The New York Times", Rachel Dinadio notes that Coetzee may not talk to the media but he is rather keen on providing quotes for bookcovers.
Coetzee has paid tribute to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died on August 3rd, calling him "a colossus of our times" and "a great Russian patriot".
In a review of The Pages by Murray Bail in "The Guardian", Hermoine Lee finds "The tone of Bail's oblique, demanding, intelligent, sardonic work reminds me of JM Coetzee's cryptic narratives, where the reader is never sure how far to invest in the characters."

Five Years Ago

David Lodge reviewed Elizabeth Costello in "The New York Review of Books".

This novel (as one must call it for want of a better word) requires, and rewards, at least a second reading, but even then its import remains ambiguous, partly because of the way it mixes and transgresses generic conventions. Elizabeth Costello consists of eight chapters and a postscript, though the chapters are called "Lessons" (whether they are lessons for the central character or for the reader is not made clear -- perhaps both). Six of the Lessons have appeared in print before, which is not in itself remarkable, but two of them have been published previously as an independent work, which is unusual. These were the Tanner Lectures, a series dedicated to the discussion of ethical and philosophical topics, which Coetzee gave at Princeton University in 1997-1998, under the title "The Lives of Animals."
Coetzee has never sought popularity or celebrity. His books are always unsettling, unexpected, and uncomforting. He seems a rather aloof figure in the contemporary literary world, who seldom gives interviews, and often declines to collect his prizes in person. But he is one of the few living writers routinely described as "great."
Also in the same magazine, a month or so previously, Coetzee reviewed The Pickup and Loot and Other Stories, both by Nadine Gordimer.
At the heart of the novel of realism is the theme of disillusionment. At the end of Don Quixote, Alonso Quixana, who had set out to right the wrongs of the world, comes home sadly aware not only that he is no hero but that there are no more heroes. As stripper-away of convenient illusions and unmasker of colonial bad faith, Gordimer is an heir of the tradition of realism that Cervantes inaugurated.
With the end of apartheid and the relaxation of the ideological imperatives that under apartheid had overshadowed all cultural affairs, Gordimer was liberated from such self-laceration. Her latest fiction shows a welcome readiness to pursue new avenues and a new sense of the world.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 5, 2008 11:20 AM.

How I Began to Write by Rolf Boldrewood (Part 1) was the previous entry in this blog.

Poem: "Ars Longa, Lodger Brevis" by Nero is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en