Category Archives: J.M. Coetzee

JM Coetzee reads a new story

A few days ago I started reading a book by J. M. Coetzee, just today I met Elizabeth Costello on the pages of this book. She entered the apartment of the protagonist and she decided to stay in his house. It seems she will stay at more places at the very same time for she will appear in another book by the very same writer.  The book will be coming and now he will be reading a new story. I do not know about the presence of Elisabeth in this story. You can check for yourself here

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SLOW MAN

A man on his bicycle rides down the road in his suburb. A car hits him and the results are dramatic. He is transported to a hospital and part of a leg has to be amputated. He refuses an artificial limb and moves back to his apartment.

In this apartment Paul Rayment, a retired photographer of Dutch and French origin, struggles, not just with a lost limb, but also with a lost prospect. In the midst of it all he struggles with love. His wife has left him many years ago, and he has no contact with her. He has no children.

In his loneliness and absence of a limb he gets help from a nurse who will help him in treating his wounds and getting his life back. He sends her away after just a week. A former lover turns up and they talk about love, Margaret McCord (the same name as a writer who wrote on a South African topic) would like to restart their former love relationship. Paul turns down the offer. Then, one day, Marijana Jokic turns up. She is, just as Paul Rayment, an immigrant, from Croatia. She is married with three children.

Paul would have liked to have children, but there is no offspring to love. Marijana has three children, a son among them. In order to reach and touch  Marijana with love he tries to help Drago with schoolfees for a posh boarding school. He wants to be part of Marihana’s family.

The next woman enters his life. Her name is Elisabeth Costello and she is a novelist. She enters the story as a kind of alter ego of Paul Rayment. She also enters the love scene by offering a blind date with a Marianna, a blind lady, while Paul is blindfolded. But this proves to be another cul-de-sac.

The longing for love and to be loved is a cause for disturbed relationships. He gets into trouble with the husband of M, her children get into trouble. He sends away Elisabeth Costello, but she keeps on returning to show Pauls ways of  loving relations. Mariajana keeps her distance.

Paul Rayment is de Slow Man, he is slow in his walk and in his life that longs for love. But he does not want want less than love. He is not longing for the loving care by Marijana, but he is longing for love itself. He longs to be loved.

Is it possible to be loved by someone? Is it possible to have loving relationships. With another? With your children. Paul Rayment is looking for it and he will not accept anything less.

J. M. Coetzee has written an intruiging novel. Layers of love are laid bare. What are our intentions? Are we able to have loving relationships or do we settle for less?

J. M. Coetzee – Slow Man – 2005

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor coetzee slow man

jm coetzee presents a seminar

The South African writer J.M. Coetzee will be in Argentina next month, where he will give a seminar on two writers: One is Zoë Wicomb, the other one is Ivan Vladislavic. 

Coetzee en el Campus de la UNSAM

j.m. coetzee and the life of writing

The writer has met his book.

The South African (but living overseas) writer J. M. Coetzee has been honoured by a book written about his work as a writer. The book has been launched by the writer David Atwell who had access to many resources. At a meeting at a bookshop he was involved in a conversation with the poet Finuala Dowling.

David Attwell and Finuala Dowling

jm coetzee and athol fugard festival

Right in the Karoo (South Africa) later this month a festival will be held to hounour two South Africans who have left their mark on the literary scene. One of them is J.M. Coetzee (1940), who won the Nobel prize for Literature, the other is Athol Fugard (1932) who is not only involved in literature, but also in other forms of art.

Find the full programme here

Book Town Programme 1

a literary biography of south africa’s

At times I think a biography should be written when the bios of the person has ended. But is not easy for writers to wait, to collect material, to interview the person and friends and relatives and wait till time has run its course.

J.M. Coetzee is still very much alive, his bios continues, but David Attwell has decided to write a biography.

this is another book on J.M. Coetzee, with a similar title.

 

DISGRACE

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