J.M. Coetzee Watch #11

Review of Diary of a Bad Year

"News Blaze": "Diary of a Bad Year remains a good reading experience only for the first few chapters when Coetzee's political commentary intrigues the reader toward some grand unfolding in the coming pages. However, it never arrives; instead, the book underwhelms for more than one reason. "First of all, the desultoriness with which the author hops from one topic to another -- thematically unrelated -- topic destroys the book's coherence. Few of the topics are developed to a thought-arousing level and the author's person continues to overshadow his views. That also holds for the story in which the characters feel like 'voice generators' for communicating the author's mind and not as palpable human figures. There is no climax and the book remains as plain at the end as at the very beginning."

Short Notices

"Underthought" weblog: "Short, thought-provoking, intermittently brilliant and strangely captivating, Diary of a Bad Year is one of the most bizarre novels (if you can even call it a novel) I've ever read. But it's also a little irritating -- for its brevity and for its staccato rhythm, as Coetzee hops from one political bugbear to the next."
"Joan's Book Nook" weblog: "Voted in 2006 as 'the greatest novel of the last 25 years', Disgrace is not a book you hurriedly skim over, as each of Coetzee's words is bold, potent and very deserving of the readers' attention that it commands. His exemplary craftsmanship, partly stems from the fact that he doesn't shy away from the full exploration of the emotional core and psyche of his characters, never once allowing his concern for the exterior to eclipse his attention to the interior by hiding underneath layers upon layers of descriptive detail, as some authors do."

Film Adaptation of Disgrace

The Internet Movie Data Base has a page devoted to the film, but does not, as yet, indicate any general release dates. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in early September, and picked up an international critics' award (the FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations). Reviews have been trickling out: Screen Daily ("...a disturbing insight into the soul of modern South Africa..."); "The Dewey Divas and the Dudes" weblog ("It's a gutsy film and while it's difficult to 'enjoy', it certainly leaves you with lots to think about."); and "exclaim.ca" ("The film certainly presents some interesting ideas about the complex nature of forgiveness and reconciliation in the wake of monumental brutality, and can be taken as a metaphor for the larger political situation.").


"sne" weblog on Life & Times of Michael K: "Coetzee is distinctly highly inventive and a man with translucent conviction. Like in his other novel Waiting for the Barbarians, Coetzee describes the landscapes of suffering little by little with the art of moral disclosure. His stories are universal because they can take place anywhere and to anyone. He does not use abstractions in his stories; his stories are engrossed in the minute and the concrete. Through the minute details in his stories, it is possible to learn how to sow, how to plough, how to use a pump, or how to make a house of earth. His sentences are simple, direct and pure. They are so acute that the readers get the effect deep in their minds."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 6, 2008 5:46 PM.

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