Every word I write about this book is a disgrace compared to the book itself.
J. M. Coetzee, the South African writer and Nobel prize winner, has written a book on a man named David Lurie. He teaches literature at a college and we follow in detail his downfall due to sexual escapades. Lurie has been divorced twice, he has one daughter Lucy, who lives on a farm.
I wrote ‘due to his sexual escapades’, but there is more to it. It is more due to his human escapades. His inability to see what he is doing and what the repercussions of his behaviour for other people, mainly women. It is inability, but on a deeper level I see a stubborness as well. A stubborness to see what he is doing, a stubborness to reflect on his own behaviour.
And all the time he is slipsliding away.
He seeks refuge at the farm of his daughter, but this does not make life easier for him. His misbehaviour with student Melanie at the College where he taught is ever so near to him. He cannot disentangle himself from his past. And maybe he does not even want to do so, at times convinced of his own moral structures.
David Lurie is a man whose desires are his downfall, his fall into disgrace. He wants to protect his daughter, but at the same time he uses uses and misuses women due to his greed and lust.
Coetzee has written a devastating and sharp book, with an eye for detail that drew me more and more into this disgrace.
(In 2008 a movie based on this book was published)
J. M. Coetzee – Disgrace – 1999