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Dusklands

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  1,070 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Dusklands (1974) is the first novel by J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is a presentation and critique of the violence inherent in the colonialist and imperialist mentality of the Western world.

The novel actually consists of two separate stories. The first one, "The Vietnam Project", relates the gradual descent into insanity of its protagonis
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Paperback, 125 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Penguin Books (first published 1974)
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K.D. Absolutely
Feb 20, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
Very powerful. To think that this was J. M. Coetzee's first novel.

This is my 4th book by him. Last year, I read his The Life and Times of Michael K, Disgrace and Slowman. Despite the Booker awards he got in the first two book, there were times I wondered how he was able to get his Nobel Prize for Literature. Michael K barely has anything on racism as it only touches on military involvement due to racial segregation with Michael K and his mother fleeing the city. Disgrace is about a professor as
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KamRun
Nov 11, 2016 KamRun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
دو داستان با درونمایهی ضداستعماری، مثل باقی آثار کوتزی. داستان اول درباره جنگ ویتنام و داستان دوم در ارتباط با استعمار آفریقای جنوبی و قتل عام بومیان آن است. کوتزی با زیرکی نکاتی روشنگرانه را در متن داستان گنجانیده که شاید در حالت معمول مخاطب حوصله خواندنشان را نداشته باشد اما در قالب داستان جذاب و خواندنی شدهاند. انتخاب دو ضدقهرمان به عنوان راوی به جذابیت داستان افزوده است، بخصوص زمانیکه روایت شکل حدیث نفس پیدا می کند ...more
Ben Dutton
Sep 25, 2012 Ben Dutton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J.M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. I know this as a fact as every work published by him after this date is plastered with this fact. Two things are wrong with this statement: 1) you don’t win a Nobel Prize, you are awarded one, and 2) having a Nobel Prize conferred on you doesn’t automatically make all of your work wondrous.

I have always admired Coetzee – and admired is so the right word. You don’t love Coetzee, in fact sometimes he repels you; sometimes he spits in your f
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Mohammad
دو داستان با مضمون مشتركِ استعمار.داستان اول،پروژه ي ويتنام شرح زندگي يك متخصص آمريكايي طراحي جنگ هاي رواني است كه در ميانه ي ساخت و پرداخت يك جنگ رواني تمام عيار عليه ويت-كنگ ها، در اثر فشار هاي رواني دچار فروپاشي رواني شده است.بخشي از داستان در مورد روش هاي جنگ رواني است كه براي من خيلي جالب بود.داستان دوم حكايت ياكوبوس كوتسي شكارچي فيل كه اردوي شكاري خود را در سرزمين هاي كشف نشده آفريقاي جنوبي ترتيب مي دهد و به قبيله بدوي ناماكوآ برخورد مي كند

كوتسي در اين دو داستان اسنادي از رفتار خشونتبار اس
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Angélique Moreau
Jan 18, 2014 Angélique Moreau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx-fiction
I was stunned by Coetzee's first novel. Of course, we could object that this is but the rough sketch of the vision and the power of the following of his works, or that the construction is wobbly, as it is made of two short stories in different times and settings.

I cannot deny all that, but I think I read the book at the right moment, as I was researching how war narratives question gender, and more particularly masculinity. The two main characters fed my research, and teach the reader about the
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Kamil
Nov 02, 2014 Kamil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars. My video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hllK...

First ever published Coeztee novel from 1974 is made of two parts, two novellas actually. Although they might seem as two separate stories both are deeply connected.

The first one "The Vietnam Project," is narration of Eugene Dawn, a scientist writing a report for Department of Defense, on propaganda methods to be used in Vietnam War.

Second part "The Narrative of Jacob Coetzee," is the story XVIII century Dutch farmer, an eleph
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Guillermo Jiménez
Según Francisco Ayala, el primer juicio de valor del crítico lo hace al elegir la obra. Al escoger cierta novela como su objeto de estudio, está ya afirmando algo sobre el libro.

Hoy, platicando con Miguel comprendí un poco más de cerca la labor del crítico, del académico, del estudioso. Siempre me he granjeado estar en otro lado, en otra parte ajena a ese quehacer superior en la literatura. Sin embargo, me he procurado estar cerca o seguir a aquellos en cuyo juicio confío.

El primero de todos es
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Debayan Nag
Jul 20, 2014 Debayan Nag rated it liked it

The first book of Coetzee I have read, "Dusklands" the term metaphorically stands true to the contexts of both the, sort of, adventures and vindictive stories the book unfolds. The inner visions and the complete self of both the protagonists, Eugene Dawn and the frontiersman, have been vividly characterized - a genuine credit to the experience and narrative technique of the author. The portrayal of the characters though had differences.
The narrative covering the Vietnam Project, the distinct w
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Lukasz Pruski
Dec 12, 2013 Lukasz Pruski rated it really liked it
J.M. Coetzee's first book, "Dusklands", is the fifth I have read by this author. To me, it is the weakest of the five, but the term "weakest" means "less excellent" (or "not as obviously outstanding"). It does not have the crystalline clarity and wisdom of "Disgrace" or "Waiting for the Barbarians", and it does not quite reach the depth and beauty of "Boyhood" or "Youth". It is still better than 99% of fiction out there, though.

The book is comprised of two separate short novellas, "The Vietnam P
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Brian
Nov 10, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2008, nobel
This is a book consisting of two novellas; the first works of Nobel Prize winner J. M. Coetzee. Not the best introduction into his works… or so I’m told. But it was still a satisfying read.

The first story in the book is entitled ‘The Vietnam Project’ and is about Eugene Dawn, a writer researching the effectiveness of the United States propaganda warfare in Vietnam. It’s written in journal format and his report to his superior (Mr Coetzee) is also included. What starts off as a somewhat dry disse
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Tony Hightower
Mar 22, 2010 Tony Hightower rated it really liked it
These two short novels, one about a writer going through a messy divorce and the other about an 18th century frontiersman and the Hottentots he has to deal with, are tied together by the single act of violence on which their stories turn. Both stories involve the power their protagonists understand they wield, and their shaky hold on that power, over themselves, their dependents and the world they inhabit, and their ultimate succumbing to that power serves as both stories' climax.



The second stor
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Prooost Davis
Feb 07, 2013 Prooost Davis rated it really liked it
"Dusklands" consists of two novellas, each concerning men who are pretty sure they know what's what. The first man, Eugene Dawn, is an expert on psychological warfare, and the story, "The Vietnam Project," concerns his struggles with both his professional and his private lives. His considering himself an intellectual realist does not keep him from doing some irrational things that get him into trouble.

The second man, one Jacobus Coetzee, an 18th Century Dutch inhabitant of South Africa, goes on
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Salvatore
Two narratives separated by about 200 years showcasing the horrors and megalomania created by colonisation and war and not seeing enemies as humans. The Vietnam War and the Dutch 'exploration' of inner South Africa are atrocities and create deformed figures in Eugene Dawn and Jacobus Coetzee, respectively. There's less nuance in this revelation than in later Coetzee novels. However, with brutality that rages through these two stories, it's interesting that the metafictional elements question how ...more
Katie Grainger
Whenever you open a book by J M Coetzee you know it will be an event. Even if you don't particularly enjoy the prose or the topic you find yourself holding your breath a little. Dusklands is no exception.

A book which I felt is ultimately about repression made me think that history does repeat itself and all through it cultures have done unspeakable things to each other. This is not a pick me up read and definitely not a feel good read, however as with all Coetzee books it keeps you thinking stre
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Patyta
Mar 07, 2017 Patyta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amerynth
J.M. Coetzee's "Dusklands" is actually two short novellas -- both fairly brutal portrayals of revenge. I struggled through the first, "The Vietnam Project" which was really dry and somewhat boring until the final act, while I found "The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee" far more interesting.

This was Coetzee's debut novel -- I wouldn't say I particularly enjoyed these works, I can certainly see, if this is where he started, why he would go on to be awarded a Pulizter later on.

I've read this really is
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Ben Pieper
Aug 11, 2014 Ben Pieper rated it really liked it
Ever since reading Waiting for the Barbarians, Coetzee's seminal 1980 novel, I have counted J.M. among my favorite writers. There is no mistaking his piercing prose, probing questions, and an unrelenting bleakness that falls somewhere between Kafka and (Cormac) McCarthy. Needless to say, I was happy (or at least as happy as you sanely can be to delve into a Coetzee novel) to stumble upon Dusklands, his first work from 1974. Unavailable from Amazon and never before seen at any Half-Priced Books I ...more
Frank
Aug 29, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this quite a few years ago and believe that it warrants a rereading in view of Coetzee's other works. The book had considerable impact on me at the time such that I'm still reflecting on how the novel as a medium can manipulate and explore notions of atrocity. You will note that the novel contains two major sections, each novella length on its own. It also (if memory serves me) contains appendices claiming to be historical documentation of the novel's second story. Despite these sections, ...more
Alex Strick van Linschoten
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Enrique
Sep 16, 2009 Enrique rated it liked it
Recommends it for: admiradores de J.M. Coetzee
De acuerdo a Anton Chekov, toda buena historia debe tener 6 principios; 1. Ausencia de lenguaje extenso de naturaleza política, social o económica; 2. Objetividad total; 3. Descripciones fidedignas de personas y objetos; 4. Brevedad extrema; audacia y originalidad: evitar los estereotipos; 6. Compasión.

Es precisamente la compasión, la que más extrañe en Tierras de Poniente. Siendo Coetzee uno de mis autores favoritos, esta no es mi obra predilecta. La historia comienza con Eugene Dawn, un escri
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Natasha
Sep 20, 2016 Natasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books, 2016
Two novellas in one book, both are bleak, violent stories. Not exactly an easy read but both stories were interesting in their own ways.
June Louise
Oh dear - what a horrible book! Admittedly it isn't the kind of novella I would pick up normally, but having to read this as part of my Uni syllabus, I decided to give it a go and started it with an open-mind.

Thankfully, it is short. It's too blood-thirsty and violent for me, but yet I guess the author is portraying that to show what extremes in behaviour lead to. The text in the first story is a mixture of character biography and technical jargon; we certainly get the impression that Eugene Da
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Anthony
Nov 10, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The publishers promise us Conrad on the book's jacket and they're right. Coetzee is the heir to Conrad's oppressive and bleak studies of the imperialist mindset. Nabakov is another comparison but I haven't read enough of him to agree. Still, Humbert Humbert from Lolita is the progenitor of the twisted and "disgraced" professor David Lurie from Coetzee's excellent 1999 novel, Disgrace.


Dusklands, which is Coetzee's first effort, is a fine place to begin. It is made up of two separate novellas; "Th
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Mitchell
Jul 13, 2014 Mitchell rated it really liked it
Coetzee’s first novel Dusklands is a fairly short piece of work divided into two halves: an American military psychologist’s report on propaganda techniques being used in the then-ongoing Vietnam War, and a manuscript detailing a journey undertaken by fictional South African pioneer “Jacobus Coetzee” which descends into violence and blood-letting.

Like Coetzee’s future works, Dusklands is grim and depressing; an examination of dominion, colonialism and exploitation. Jacobus’ story is the more ove
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Krishna Avendaño
La primera novela de Coetzee se compone de dos cuentos largos o novelitas breves, de las cuales la primera y más corta, El proyecto Vietnam, es excelente. La segunda digamos que se escapa por completo de mis intereses.
Rodney Likaku
Oct 22, 2015 Rodney Likaku rated it it was amazing
You know that feeling you get when you just wake up and you are trying to reconfigure: where you are? who you are and what planet you are on? That's what happened to me when I just finished reading the text. I was impressed, at the very least I knew I had to be impressed. Only one problem--why? And then the questions start to stream down in 'whys': why did this book win a pulitzer; why does Coetzee have to sound so theoretical; did he just put Cartesian philosophy to shame through his character ...more
Travelling Sunny
One book.
Two short stories.

Story One = The Vietnam Project. Opening chapters were positively amazeballs. Clearly, the man was a little wonky. The character's report itself was quite dry, but then, we really got into his head and found the profoundness that was hidden there all along. All by itself, this story would have garnered four or five stars.

Story Two = The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee. What can I say about this? I found the bulk of the story to be a complete snoozefest with moments of exh
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Christopher
Jan 07, 2015 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Dramatically different in style to "Disgrace," the only other Coetzee novel I've read, but equally powerful and effective. This book, written in the early 1970s, is much more of a piece with the then-current literary trend: it's postmodern-ish and has some metafictional elements in the second of its two stories.

While the two vignettes would seem to stand apart in subject and tone, the echoes between the two draw attention to Coetzee's central themes: the psychology of power and conquest, the br
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Gerardo
Tierras de poniente se divide en dos relatos. El primero adopta la forma de un informe psicológico para el ejército de los Estados Unidos durante la guerra de Vietnam. El segundo es una narración en primera persona que recrea la expedición de un antepasado de Coetzee, al que se atribuye el descubrimiento del río Orange y de la jirafa. Ambos textos combinan el falso rigor de la literatura científica y documental con la ironía y la enajenación de personajes implicados en injustificables aberracion ...more
Richard
May 23, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
He won the Nobel prize -- who am I to criticize? And I have not read his other works...picked this up randomly at the library. The second novella about South African pioneering is a harrowing revelation of the white man's attitudes towards the country and indigenous people that he is conquering. The past is a different country, and it is hard to understand how the pioneers did what they did, and how they felt about it. Coetzee captures their hard, angry country-building arrogance like nothing el ...more
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Shelfari 1001 group: Dusklands by J.M. Coetzee 1 5 Jul 22, 2016 07:42PM  
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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.
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“I speak to the broken halves of all our selves and tell them to embrace, loving the worst in us equally with the best.” 12 likes
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