Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

(Cross-posted from my blog, Out of the Blue)

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee won the Boooker Prize in 1999. And I can very well see why. Although I could read it only in the Italian translation by Gaspare Bona, I found it exceptionally well-written, with a concise, brief style that suits the book perfectly. But I also found it very unpleasant to read.

The book tells the story of David Lurie, a 52-year old twice-divorced professor who teaches Communication at a technical university in Cape Town, South Africa. He is dissatisfied with his job, but goes on nonetheless. His "disgrace" begins when he has an affair with one of his students. When the affair is found out, he does nothing to protect himself from the consequences and is forced to resign.

After that, he seeks refuge in his daughter Lucy's farm in the Eastern Cape. Things go well for a while, but then he and his daughter are brutally attacked and the consequences are hard to deal with, both for David and for Lucy.

This book depicts the tensions between different generations, sexes, and races in post-apartheid South Africa. As such, it is a very interesting read. But also, as I already mentioned, quite unpleasant. I don't know if I liked it or not. But I'd recommend it anyway.

1 comment

Anni said...

just finished reading this book some days ago, so my experiences are quite new.
I have to agree with you, that this book is very unpleasant to read. Not only because of Lucy's destiny,but somehow it was unpleasant to know anything about David's thoughs.
Somehow,I found him as a very unpleasant someone.
Maybe a 52 years old male reader understands him well, but I as a 28 years old female reader find him simple unpleasant.

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