review BOYHOOD

It has been a long time, since I read a book by J.M. Coetzee, the writer from South Africa, who won a Nobel prize for Literature.

Now I have turned to his boyhood, his days in the provincial life. Coetzee describes his younger years in detail. He is the odd boy out. The boy who thinks he is an exception, compared to the other boyw in the village and at school. He is the one who wears shoes. He is the one who flirts with the Roman Catholic Church. He is the one who is meek as a lamb at school, but brazen as a bull at home. 

His mother showers him with love, but he is unable to return love, so he resorts to dictates. He searches for his iedentity. He is not an Afrikaner, but he doesnot feel at home with others either. He experiences the growing separation between the different groups in society. 

At some time the family moves to Cape Town, where his father gets employment in the legal profession. Here he tries to make new friends and he gets acquainted with a boy of Greek descent. But is still the boy at the outskirts of the circle.

The boy in his boyhood tries to discover himself. He feels estranged from his surroundings. He tries to join in sportsactivities, but he is clumsy. He lives at the edge of life and thoughts of death and suicide are accompanying him. 

Beautifully written and sad. 

J.M. Coetzee – Boyhood. Scenes from a provincial life –  1997

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

4 thoughts on “review BOYHOOD

  1. I haven’t read much at all of J.M. Coetzee despite his acclaim. I suppose I should read Disgrace at least? Which of his works would you recommend? I picked up Summertime a few years ago and I felt it a little narcissistic to be honest. Writing about your life through the eyes of fictional individual shortly after your own death is tricky territory…


  2. I have his book ‘Summertime’. I just realized that its part 3 of his Provincial Life series… I should read ‘Boyhood’ before I read ‘Summertime’ haha


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