Saturday, June 30, 2007

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

Title: Disgrace
Author: J. M. Coetzee

ISBN # 0099289520

Publisher: Vintage

First Published: 1999

220 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 6/10

A divorced, middle-aged English professor finds himself increasingly unable to resist affairs with his female students. After an impulsive affair with his student sours, and having been discovered by the college authorities, he is expected to apologize to save his job, but instead he refuses and resigns, retiring to live with his daughter on her remote farm. For a time, his daughter's influence and the natural rhythms of the farm promise to
harmonise his discordant life. He and Lucy become victims of a disturbing attack which brings into relief all their fault lines.

Bit of an odd one this - the story didn't really seem to have a point to it, but it illustrated some of the dangers that people live with every day in countries of conflict while trying to get on with their day to day lives. I did enjoy it, but I can't really put my finger on why.

There were moments where I rather enjoyed reading it, but those were heavily outweighed by the moments where I felt bored out of my scull. None of the characters seems to have any redeeming features and I couldn’t bring myself to actually care much about any of them of their situations. It all seemed very humdrum and as the winner of the 1999 Booker Prize, I feel it reinforces the idea that prize-winning books are generally dry and a little “worthy”, but not so appealing to readers in general, which is a shame, because then the truly wonderful books that won prizes get tarred with the same brush.

I felt that this was severely lacking in anything that would provide an enjoyment of reading it and it inspired nothing much more than a feeling of lethargy as I plodded through the pages. Coetzee is not an author I would want to revisit in the future.


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