Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I didn't expect to enjoy J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace at all; it seemed to be such a heavy book. And the copy I have is a Polish translation! :-) But I just finished and I must say that it was captivating. It certainly wan't light, but the heavy topics touched on were covered well, part of the story, not moralising.

The book is about an ageing professor, David Lurie, who is forced to resign from the university he teaches at after his affair with a student is discovered. He goes to stay with his progressive daughter Lucie, who is living the simple life on an isolated piece of land. Oh and the most important thing putting the action in context is that everything takes place in South Africa. It won the 1999 Booker Prize.

I like that the book is about so many different things - the disgrace of Lurie, the disgrace of his daughter, the disgraceful South African situation. But it's also about a family that is falling apart because each member is coming from a different place - a mirror of South African society.

I think it's also about making choices that are right for us, even if they are caused by guilt or other negative feelings. No one can make big life choices for us, each of us has to do that alone.

It's a heavy book and not really uplifting, but it's not overly depressing either. It just is. Which I think describes life well most of the time - I for one probably spend too much time thinking about abstractions rather than dealing with what just is.

Recommended - if I liked it in Polish then I'm sure it's good! :-) I'm getting better at the reading in Polish thing, I'm glad.

Challenges: 888 Challenge, 10 out of 100 out of 1001, 1% Well-Read Challenge, Initials Reading Challenge, Man Booker Challenge


Lezlie said...

Sounds interesting. I will definitely put this on the TBR.

Have a good day, Joanna!

Iliana said...

I read this one with one of my book groups several years ago and we all thought it was superb! I think it's perfect for book groups too as this book gives you so much to think about.

Have you read anything else by him? It's been a while since I've read any of his books but I've got several of them on my stacks.

Michele said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this...it's one of the next up in my TBR tower. I was a little hesitant about it, but your review helps a lot. Thanks!


joanna said...

Lezlie - it's on the 1000 list so it'll help you along there!

Iliana - no, I haven't, do you recommend anything?

Michele - looking forward to hearing your views!