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Waiting for the Barbarians

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  14,355 ratings  ·  1,008 reviews
For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts arrive, however, he witnesses the Empire's cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war. Jolted into sympathy for their victims, he commits a quixotic act of rebellion that bran ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 1982 by Penguin Books (first published October 27th 1980)
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It is impossible to read this and not be reminded of an almost genetically programmed inferiority complex, the burden of history only the descendants of the colonized have to bear. Despite those smug pronouncements of the 21st century being an era of a fair and equitable world and the hard battles won in favor of interracial harmony, there's the fact of your friend barely suppressing a squawk of alarm when you express your admiration for Idris Elba - no female I am acquainted with in real life h ...more
I’m going to write two Waiting for the Barbarians reviews. The first, in italics, is the one that someone seems to expect, the second is the one I would normally write. Take your pick!

Waiting for the Barbarians always reminds me of this time I was on a cross-country flight from DC to Oakland. This 400 pound Samoan guy in a black silk suit sat across the aisle from me. He feverishly wrote in his journal the entire flight, whispering things like “holy fuck!” and “yes, shit, I’ve got it!” to himsel
"From such beginnings grow obsessions: I am warned." pg.79

This quote, taken wildly out of context, serves as an accurate description of my first experience reading J.M. Coetzee. Having read this small book in its entirety throughout the last twenty four hours, I now have the urge to read his other works as soon as possible. It is interesting how Mr. Coetzee and this book in particular have become a recurring Goodreads meme of sorts over the last few weeks, so i'm guessing that i'm not alone in t
Coetzee writes for academics. He writes to teach lessons, to have his themes discussed and perhaps to be chuckled at. I find his books rather deliberate, hardened and inevitable. Now, he’s a fine writer, can turn a passable phrase and get conceptual without becoming a total bore; but, he has a tendency to interpret his books for you and the mannerisms and hobbies of the characters in “Waiting for the Barbarians” slot them too neatly into representative categories, which makes this more of an all ...more
بانتظار البرابرة

عن صناعة الغول نتحدث، حينما يستحث الشعب جُلّ مخيلته فيخلق لنفسه غولاً, ثم يغذيه فضلة خوفه حتى يتضخم الغول ويلتهم صانعه. عن هوس الجموع نتكلم، عن أن يعتزل الشعب التفكير ويتبع ما يقال له ويسمعه دون التوقف هنيهة لإعادة التفكير فيغدو مطرقة طيعة بيد المحرضين، يهشم رأسه على رأس غيره، وما من رابح هنالك. نناقش فكرة العدالة، أيمكن تطبيقها على الأرض؟ أما الضمير وما أدراك مالضمير؟ ذلك النواح الذي لا ينقطع، فيخيرك ما بين الصراع اللانهائي معه أو أن تردي نفسك لتخرس إلحاحه.

هذه الرواية من النوع ا
D. Pow
J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians is a stark, allegorical tale that is haunting, strange and filled with impending menace from page one. It is the tale of The Magistrate, a mid-level bureaucrat who presides over a small settlement on the edge of a pre-industrial Empire. The Empire is not named, the Barbarians are not specified, and though the particulars of the settings are echoed by historical counterparts, Coetzee leaves out enough details to make the place timeless, universal, fabulis ...more

ربما من الأفضل أولاً أن نقوم بقراءة قصيدة اليوناني العظيم كفافي و التي اقتبس عنوانها كوتزي و أوحت له بالرواية التي يُعتقد أنها كانت السبب الأول بفوز صاحبها الجنوب أفريقي بجائزة نوبل. لا أتفق مع مقدمة المترجمة التي اجتهدت و أصابت كما أخطأت أيضاً بافتراض تأثير مسرحية بيكيت العبثية " في انتظار غودو ". يكتب كوتزي متحرراً من الزمان و المكان حيث يعيش على تخوم الامبراطورية بعض من البرابرة الذين عرف عنهم ميلهم للسلم و الجهل كما عُرف أيضاً عن كونهم السكان الأصليين لهذه الأرض. البطل هو القاضي و رجل النظام
Qual è compito della letteratura, rassicurarci o metterci paura?

Con questo libro, Coetzee risponde senza dubbio adottando la seconda ipotesi.

Elizabeth Costello, nel romanzo omonimo, si descrive così, come se dovesse pubblicare un annuncio personale: Divorziata, bianca, altezza 1.70, sessantenne, in corsa verso la morte che le corre incontro allo stesso passo, cerco dio, immortale, in qualunque forma terrestre, per fini per i quali non bastano le parole.

Coetzee è ormai settan
افتعال الحكومات للأخطار للدخول في حروب ضد أعداء وهميين... فكرة واقعية جدا
راوي الرواية قاضي في بلدة في الواحات على حدود امبراطورية ما, يعارض قائد الجيش القادم لمحاربة البرابرة المسالمين المقيمين خارج حدود الامبراطورية بدعوى ان الامبراطورية مهددة بهجوم البرابرة وأنهم خطر على الأمن.
الرواية تعرض الكثير من القضايا, حقيقة السلطة, التعذيب, الاحتقار ونظرة المستعمِر الدونية لسكان الأرض الأصليين, العدالة والقانون اللي ما كان لهم أي قيمة في مواجهة سلطة القوة والبطش
السرد رائع والأسلوب يعتمد على الحوار الداخ
Sidharth Vardhan

"See, there is only a single character, it is the barbarian character 'war' but it has other senses too. It can stand for 'vengence' and if you turn it upside down like this, it can be made to read 'Justice' There is no knowing which sense is intended. That is a part of barbarian cunning.

The narrator is Magistrate on a border area; fifty years of age. He is probably from somewhere in middle of empire but has been employed here for almost thirty years,living a very easy life. He has been so far
I knocked off two stars for the magistrate's weird obsession with younger women. I found it mostly irrelevant and disturbing. I know part of the point was that the magistrate himself was by no means a perfect guy, the complete foil of Joss - but it was a bit much. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to read this book, but I found the characters to be two-dimensional, and I didn't like the magistrate at all. Despite all that, I was very interested in the parts of the book where he wasn't obse ...more
Dec 13, 2014 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves good writing
Recommended to Judy by: 118
156 pages of excellence. Excellence in conveying truths about ourselves that we don't wish to confront. Excellence in writing - elegant and powerful. Excellence in cultural depiction. Okay, okay....all around excellent!

The story centers around an old magistrate stationed in the Sub-Saharan desert who has to come to grips with governmental administration and policy changes that will effect the native population negatively. A thought-provoking book that challenged me to reflect on what I would or
Feb 02, 2009 Jessica marked it as aborted-efforts  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like "good literature"
Recommended to Jessica by: people who like "good literature"
And then there're those days when you're like, "Who gives a shit about distance running, and why would I want to watch anyone run a fucking marathon?"

It didn't even occur to me before starting that I wouldn't completely love this book. And I mean yeah, it's really good or whatever, but who cares? It's good, blah blah blah. It's important and well-written, blah blah blah. So what? I'm not feeling it, so none of that helps me. Tonight on the packed train home, I shut this and shoved it into my poc
mai ahmd
ليست رواية سهلة , إنها رواية تتداخل فيها الكثير من الأحداث والأحلام حتى لا تعرف إن كان ما يحدث جزء من حقيقة الأحداث أو فكرة خطرت في نفس بطل الرواية أو لعلها حلما من أحلامه التي لا تنتهي , الإمبراطورية التي يتحدث عنها الكاتب في الرواية لم يكن لها اسما قد تكون جنوب افريقيا وقد لا تكون وقد تكون أي مكان آخر يعيش فيه مستوطنون أرادوا تكوين امبراطورية لا يحدها مكان مستخدمين أبشع الوسائل لإخضاع السكان الأصليين !
يعيش سكان هذه المدينة في انتظار البرابرة الذين يرغبون في العيش بهدوء وسلام ولكن المستوطنين يص
یه تجربه عالی و لذتبخش
داستان یه روایت تقریبا خطی و عاری از پیچبدگی و خودنمایی و اغراق داره.جملات کوتاه و ساده ولی روایت شدیدا گیرا و درگیر کنندست
داستان احوال شهری مرزی تو یه امپراطوری نامعلوم رو روایت مبکنه که از زمانی که همه ساکنان به خاطر دارن ترس از حمله بربرها که همون بومیان محلی و ساکنان اولیه اون منطقه هستند لحظه ای راحتشون نگذاشته
جالب اینجاست که طی سالیان دراز هم کسی هیچ خاطره ای از حمله بربرها نداره ولی ترس و شایعه سازی امپراطوری مردم رو رها نمیکنه
ازون کتابهاست که افراد بی نام هستند و هی
In un tempo imprecisato, in uno sperduto avamposto di frontiera ai confini di un’Impero imprecisato, la vita scorre sempre uguale secondo poche ma salde certezze quotidiane, governata da un magistrato non più giovane, il protagonista del romanzo, di cui non sapremo mai il nome ma solo i pensieri più intimi. La tranquillità che vige nel “tempo immobile dell’oasi” viene sconvolta dall’arrivo di una spedizione militare mandata dal capoluogo dell’Impero: fuori dall’avamposto, in un territorio sconos ...more
While writing this review the commemoration of the assassination attempt on Hitler is held in Berlin. On this day, 70 years ago, world's history could have taken a turn for the better, but unfortunately the assassination failed. The people involved were executed on that same evening. Needless to say this took place without a charge or trial. But today we remember not only the group of Graf von Stauffenberg, but all resisters and dissidents of the Nazi terror, be they individuals of culture, chur ...more
In one concise, engrossing, deceptively simple book, Coetzee beautifully summarizes and poeticizes the labyrinth of brutal contradictions that keeps humanity trapped within "the black flower of civilization."

Coetzee's unsettling conclusions about the root of empire, as well as his deftness in illustrating the extent to which we all become intractably compliant in its maintenance, speaks more profoundly and truer than the sum of all the other anthropological texts I've read. If I had to choose,
"Waiting for the Barbarians" is a novel by Nobel winnerJ.M. Coetzee first published in 1980. It was chosen by Penguin for its series "Great Books of the 20th Century" and won both the "James Tait Black Memorial Prize"" and Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize" for fiction, I never heard of these awards but that didn't stop the book from winning them. I was surprised when taking this one off my shelf that it was so new, I usually read books by people who are dead (that's what I tell friends and family a ...more
(Ok, I've just finished it, and though perhaps it is a bit "preachy" as some have complained, that limitation is more than compensated for by the fact that the Magistrate never lets himself off the hook for his own ambivalent treatment of the "barbarian" girl. Allegorical or not, this book strikes me as prescient regarding Abu Ghraib and Gitmo as Graham Greene's The Quiet American was regarding American fate in Vietnam -- but Coetzee is a far more lyrical writer than Greene. I predict that futur ...more
بثينة العيسى
Oct 17, 2009 بثينة العيسى rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: كل إنسان

هل يتناص العمل الروائي مع مسرحية صموئيل بيكيت " في انتظار غودو " .. غودو الذي لا يأتي أبداً ؟ والبرابراة .. هل يأتون؟ ومن هم البرابرة فعلاً؟ أسئلة أصيلة في هذا النص، الذي يفضح - بمنتهى الجمال بالمناسبة - الآلية التي تعمد إليها الحكومات لصنع أعدائها في سبيل " إقناع " شعبها بحاجتهم إليها، الحكومات التي لا تريد أن تركن على الرف، وتريد أن تمد بسطوتها في جميع الجهات بشراهة .. ماذا تفعل حكومات كهذه في عالم مسالم؟ إنها تصنع حرباً، لأن التاريخ لا يحفل في الغالب بالحقبات السلمية على حد زعمهم ! لنقل ببساط
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is one of those short books that impacts you sometimes like a punch in the gut, and sometimes with a far more quiet, lingering power. Beautifully written in a spare, but often lyrical, style and intimate first-person voice, it has the quality of a fairytale or allegory. Narrated by a man we know only as the "Magistrate" in a far-off province of the "Empire," the title becomes increasingly ironic and ominous. There's mention of muskets, and of sun-glasses, but otherwise this is both timeless ...more
Chance Maree
This is a fable that takes place in an unnamed border town between an imaginary Empire and its wild frontier. The town's aging Magistrate undergoes a trial of values and conscience as his peaceful routine is shattered by the Empire's declaration of war against nomadic tribes living outside its jurisdiction.

To the magistrate's dismay, prisoners--elderly men, women and children, are brought to the town by Colonel Joll and his troops and tortured or killed for 'information.' The Magistrate transla
This book might well serve as a "Heart of Darkness" for the contemporary political climate, where the line between good and bad, civilized and barbaric, is often clouded by torture, legal abuse, and illogical doctrines of preemption. Coetzee scrupulously investigates how principle gives ways to pragmatism, and how moral sure-footedness becomes moral slip-n-slide.

Lucid, eerily lovely, haunting, subtle, modestly devastating parable of surreal, dire colonial practices and preoccupations. Piece of elegant, cerebral, seductive bleakness which is an heir to the existential, political fictions of Camus, Kafka, and Sartre.
الرواية مؤلمة جدا جدا
يأتيك شعور بالاشمئزاز من كونك تنتمي لجنس البشر، هذا الجنس المتوحش
قُتل الإنسان ما أظلمه
Casey (Myshkin) Buell
Upon picking up this book you are immediately tempted to equate it with South Africa and Apartheid, but it soon becomes clear that Coetzee has larger aspirations for this novel. If you want to read about Apartheid era South Africa read Coetzee's excellent Life and Times of Michael K. Waiting for the Barbarians is about the nature of oppression, in all times and places, in all forms and shapes. The oppressors and oppressed, even the time and place, are kept deliberately vague in order to allow Co ...more
بدن های من و او به دست نیامدنی,اثیری,و بی کانون اند, دمی اینجا در گردابی می گردند و دمی دیگر آنجا خشک و منجمد می شوند, ولی بیشتر وقت ها تهی از زندگی هستند, خالی. من همانقدر می دانم با او چه کنم که تکه ابری در آسمان با تکه ابری دیگر
Đọc xong thì vẫn chưa rõ ai mới thật sự là "bọn mọi"?
I find this book to be in the category of those that are easy to read, but open to different layers of interpretation, very much like Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

On the surface this about a petty official who runs an outpost for the Empire. He could have stepped out of a Graham Green or Saul Bellows novel; he is a flawed but a learned, skeptical man in his middle years, unsure of his passions, looking forward to retirement, but due to his 30 years of experience,
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John Maxwell Coetzee is an author and academic from South Africa. He is now an Australian citizen and lives in South Australia.
A novelist and literary critic as well as a translator, Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.
More about J.M. Coetzee...

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“Pain is truth; all else is subject to doubt.” 47 likes
“You think you know what is just and what is not. I understand. We all think we know." I had no doubt, myself, then, that at each moment each one of us, man, woman, child, perhaps even the poor old horse turning the mill-wheel, knew what was just: all creatures come into the world bringing with them the memory of justice. "But we live in a world of laws," I said to my poor prisoner, "a world of the second-best. There is nothing we can do about that. We are fallen creatures. All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.” 33 likes
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