Andrew's Reviews > Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
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's review
Dec 21, 2011

bookshelves: subsaharan-african-fiction
Read in December, 2011

Lord, Mr. Coetzee, you are an impressive writer. I read The Lives of Animals as an angry vegetarian 19 year old, but this was light years better. The only thing I can compare this to is the voice of Borges at his most mordant, when he uses fixed concrete details to project these unsettling, placeless worlds.

As a dismal American, I could only think of my nation's most recent adventures in Iraq. I suppose Coetzee was thinking of apartheid-era South Africa. But either way, the story is the same. Perhaps it was sketched in broad notes ("civilized" white man bad, mysterious dark nomads good), but it was effective enough that I didn't care.
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