Vestal McIntyre's Reviews > Summertime

Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
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Jun 14, 11


After Boyhood and Youth, I expected another searing self-portrait told in calm and beautifully measured third-person. What I got is autobiography in quite a revolutionary form: the women who knew Coetzee in his early thirties are interviewed about the now-dead author. Utterly engaging, filled with awkward intimacy and painful slip-ups, Summertime is the best book in the trilogy, the best book I've read in a year.

Another interesting aspect of the book: so many "greats" have written their portraits of the artists as young men -- Goethe, Flaubert, Joyce, and Coetzee himself spring to mind. But I've never read a self-examination focusing on this point -- beyond youth, "young-manhood", I suppose -- the trials by fire after self-awareness has cemented and the moral compass has been set, but before artistic recognition occurs.
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