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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  66,891 Ratings  ·  4,895 Reviews
A lecturer at a technical university has an affair with a student, is found out and resigns under a cloud of scandal and recrimination. He seeks refuge with his daughter, who ekes out a living alone on an isolated farm, protected by dogs and a gun. But a brutal attack underlines the fact that here, in the Eastern Cape of post-apartheid South Africa, the bitterness of histo ...more
Hardcover, Folio Society Edition, 213 pages
Published 2011 by Folio Society (first published 1999)
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Sudhir Saha Its an amazing book. I think about this book time and again...i just can not get over the impact this book had on me. read it about a year ago
Deb A few words here and there are in the local dialect
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Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
   This book made me want to read Twilight. Yes, Twilight: perfectly perfect young people falling in love and never growing old. God, I hope that’s what’s in store for me there. I need an antidote to Disgrace.
   It affected me more than I thought it could, in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. At page ten I would have readily given it five stars; the writing is superb. Halfway through I’d have given it four. Excellent, but slightly annoying. At the moment I finished it, shouting “WHAT?? What the h
To begin with, let me make something clear: J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace left me intellectually fulfilled and severely shocked. Fulfilled at the simplicity and beauty of its narrative which resulted in a powerful drama; shocked at the impact it had on my innermost self. This is not a book for the faint-hearted. If you lack faith in your fortitude, do not even start, read something easier. But that would be a pity, for you would be deprived of an experience that will only enrich your understanding of ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: $1.99 Kindle special today ..... for those who can handle reading this book .... the writing - and story gets inside you and doesn't leave quickly.

"Disgrace" is a perfect title.

David Laurie, professor, father, divorced, (twice married), jobless after and inappropriate affair, temporary farmworker, is a 'disgrace'.

David dips into a downfall transgression with himself and his daughter, Lucy.
Racial tensions run high....violence is on the South Africa. ( and this wa
I read Disgrace by Nobel Laureate J M Coetzee with a few friends in the group reading for pleasure. A winner of the Man Booker Prize, Disgrace also fulfills the Nobel Laureate square on my classics bingo card. All of Coetzee's novels have received multiple awards or prizes, and Disgrace is the first of his novels that I have read. Although short in length, this introduction reveals to me the brilliance of Coetzee's writing.

David Lurie is a fifty two year old professor of communications at Cape
This could have been the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt while reading a novel. The issues and themes addressed are those that are immersed in the sensitive, pitch-black parts of my insides. And it didn’t relent; not once did it get easier. It was painful to keep going, yet I was gripped and couldn’t stop.

Mining through our darker spirits is not pleasurable. Looking at the world and its sickness, and feeling some of its constant, inherent pain is no easier. But when these merge together, a glo
Bill  Kerwin
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This short novel, written in spare, economical prose, tells the story of a not particularly likable middle-aged Capetown college instructor who falls into "disgrace" because of an affair with a student and is soon reduced to living with his daughter in the bush and working as a euthanizer at the local animal shelter. A violent incident occurs, and "disgrace" takes on another meaning.

The novel is both merciless and compassionate (not an easy combination to achieve), and is also incisive in its p
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a little-known fact (where “fact” is understood in the contemporary, alternative sense) that the title of this book was originally an acronym that Coetzee used as a guide for writing it:

Dishonor-Inducing Sex & Glaring Racial Antipathy Corroding Emotions

David Lurie, a white South African professor in his fifties, had taught communications and poetry in Cape Town. An ill-advised affair with a student spoiled all that. David sought refuge with his daughter Lucy who experienced some conflic
I finished this book a little over a week ago and for the first time I couldn’t decide how to rate a book, much less write a review about it. So here I am still mulling it over, reading through my notes and trying to type some sort of articulate thoughts into my laptop. I don’t really think I ‘liked’ Disgrace. I respected the writing; it made me think … a lot. I had trouble finding any beauty in it; and I think that is where the problem lies with this book for me. If a book touches me emotionall ...more
N W James I'm afraid for me, this book suffers from what I call the Booker disease. I've read very few books that won the Man Booker prize that I've enjoyed.

--------SPOILERS AHOY AHOY-----------------------
I looked through the GoodReads comments concerning this book and saw a lot of positive feedback. But not one of those comments talked about Coetzee's horrible dialogue. All of his characters speak like a phlebotomy textbook, and they are all just an obvious soundboard for the author's opinio
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It's admirable, what you do, what she does, but to me animal-welfare people are a bit like Christians of a certain kind. Everyone is so cheerful and well-intentioned that after a while you itch to go off and do some raping and pillaging. Or to kick a cat.

At the beginning, it appears pretty easy:

- To hate David Lurie.
- To take Coetzee’s writing for granted.
- To assume that everything would fall in its right or may be wrong place.
- To anticipate a letdown feeling by just another Booker prize nove
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, south-africa
David Lurie, 52, professor, seduces a student. ‘Not rape,’ we are told, ‘not quite that, but undesired nevertheless.’ The girl's name, Melanie, means black. The power dynamic between them, the disparity of authority, is foregrounded.

Later, Lurie's daughter is raped by intruders, and violently. She is white; her assailants – three of them – are black. We are in South Africa.


David is forced out of his position at the university for his ‘undesired’ liaison. An investigating committee asks him t
A savage, ruthless book.

At the onset of this 1999 Booker winner, I thought I was reading the story of 52 year old Capetown romantics poetry professor David Lurie, who has an affair with a student over thirty years his junior. I was in awe of the storytelling, of how Coetzee was able to show much by saying little, about the two sides of that affair.

Lurie, a man who identifies as a Byron-esque lover, who has been twice divorced and who enjoys the services of prostitutes, isn't exactly likeable. Es
There should be one of those button options on GR that states this review has been hidden due to hormonal, maybe not so justified, incoherent rants… click here to view

Because that’s what you’re about to get.

David Lurie is a playah. In the full urban dictionary sense of the word.

A male who is skilled at manipulating ("playing") others, and especially at seducing women by pretending to care about them, when in reality they are only interested in sex….A certain class of low-rent, slack-jawed fuck
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in need of a dignified end.
Recommended to Dolors by: Steve aka Sckenda
Shelves: read-in-2013
Brace yourself to meet Professor David Lurie, banished son of the Romantic Poets, he roves and loves, spreading his unfertile seed unapologetically.
Byronic in his burning desire to possess female bodies, he doesn’t crave for their souls, it is the release of the flesh, the ecstasy of the unloved that he is after.
Fifty-two year old David seeks only his own pleasure and succumbs to his instincts as the true womanizer he is, or as he calls himself a lover of women, paying homage to Wordsworth in nu
Transcendent and Transformative
"On trial for his way of life. For unnatural acts: for broadcasting old seed, tired seed, seed that does not quicken, contra naturam. If the old men hog the young women, what will be the future of the species? ... Half of literature is about it: young women struggling to escape from under the weight of old men, for the sake of the species."
I am wonderstruck by this 220-page novel, the 1999 Booker Prize winner. It's my first read of Coetzee. In sharp, precise prose
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Durante aquella época de mi febril admiración por Fiódor Dostoievski, unos años atrás, admiración que cuya llama no se apaga, tuve la oportunidad de leer el libro "El maestro de Petersburgo", de J.M. Coetzee y ver en la tapa que había sido premiado con el premio Nobel en 2003 auguraba una interesante lectura.
Me sorprendió en el acto y gratamente la manera en que se mete en la piel del genial escritor ruso, en una novela atrapante donde Dostoievski, luego de años de exilio vuelve su querido San
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I closed on the last page of this book, I just sat in stunned silence and stared into space. I felt a little sick and lost, over affected by the sad truths it disclosed. I did not cry, but there were tears behind my eyes pricking through much of this read, and they were not tears for these characters as much as for humanity at large.

David Lurie is not a likeable person. He is short-sighted and self-centered and amazingly insensitive. So, how is it that I ended this book wishing him well? Wi
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sudafrica

Qual è la vera vergogna, chi la commette, chi dovrebbe provarla?
Devono vergognarsi anche le vittime?
La ragione non sta mai da una parte sola.

John Malkovic è il professore David Lurie, e Jessica Haines è sua figlia Lucy nel film di Steve Jacobs del 2008.

La storia di David Lurie, professore di Poesia Romantica in una qualche università di Cape Town, con la sua studentessa è uno stupro? Il prof si è avvantaggiato della sua posizione e del suo carisma, ma ha davv
I literally just finished this book a few minutes ago, so I have not by any means worked though all of my reactions to it yet. It is written in a very spare, emotionally distanced style, even though it deals with very emotional topics. It is a page-turner, an absorbing, fast read that keeps you anxious to find out what happens next -- but that seems almost incidental, besides the point. I thoroughly disliked the main character, David Lurie -- he is unbelievably arrogant and chauvinistic -- but t ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aubrey by: Steve aka Sckenda
This is all very quixotic, Professor Lurie, but can you afford it?
We've started going over the terms of tragedy in one of my classes, working through the definition before setting off on our reading of Othello. One of these delineations uttered by my professor went along the lines of the difference between 'unfortunate accident' and 'tragedy', the death of the main character's lover and said main character's succumbing to a fatal flaw, respectively. I say, if that is indeed the linguistic case
Man, living in South Africa really sounds like it sucks.


Nabokov insisted that "one cannot read a book: one can only reread it," and while I suspect he was right I almost never read books more than once. There are just too many unread books out there for me to stop and go back in most cases, unless I'm made to do so for a class, which this time I was, just two years after first reading Disgrace.

There are a couple obvious reasons why it's good to reread books, and one has much more to do with t
This was my first Coetzee, and so my expectations were modest, as they usually are with a new author. Literature being so diverse, it usually takes a little time to connect with an author’s particular style and voice, and there is something of an act of persuasion as the author slowly reveals themselves and coaxes you around to his or her point of view. Not so with Disgrace, which immediately gripped me in its raw power and honest depiction of the decline and fall of David Lurie. In his portraya ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“Was it serious? I don't know. It certainly had serious consequences.”
― J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace


“When all else fails, philosophize.”
― J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Wow, folded into 220 pages is about everything you've ever wanted (or never wanted) to read about race, sex, power, family shame, suffering, humiliation, jus animalium, love and death. Really. I think Coetzee could fit more raw emotion and tender sorrow into one rangy clause than most writers could pack into a whole novel. There is part of m
Whitney Atkinson
This was an amazing book about a main character with an ambiguous moral compass. It was infuriating, it was interesting, it was just such a ride. Major trigger warning for rape and pedophilia, since pretty much the entire book revolves around that. But I just loved this. It made me think so much and we had amazing discussions in class. Highly recommend!
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رواية للكاتب الجنوب أفريقي جون ماكسويل كوتزي نُشرت عام 1999.
هل يستطيع الانسان أن يعتاد حياته ويتعايش مع الشعور بالعار أو الخزي؟
في مجتمع ما بعد التمييز العنصري في جنوب أفريقيا يأخذنا الكاتب لأشكال مختلفة من الخزي
الاستغلال والاغتصاب والاستسلام وتراكمات الظلم والقهر والجهل

الشخصية الرئيسية في الرواية هو الأستاذ الجامعي الأبيض الذي يُقدم على فعل شائن يعلم جيدا انه خطأ
يشعر بالخزي لكنه يُبرر عدم ندمه واعتذاره بأن الرغبة والاشتهاء طبيعة وحق انساني
وأثناء زيارته لابنته في مزرعة ريفية تعيش فيها بين أهل ال
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story gets directly to the point. Coetzee is quick to take us from point A to point B with as little embellishment as possible. The short and compulsively readable "Disgrace" revolves around a professor who has fallen from his status at a South African university, then the tables are turned and he finds himself falling even further down the chute, becoming the victim of sudden violence. Misogyny is thence explored, as is morbidity. It's "The Human Stain" meets "Saturday." (The former is a c ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Morality vs Mortality

This is not a standard review of Disgrace. I have chosen to tackle a perspective that I think is very apparent in the novel, but is mostly overlooked by many of its readers. Sure, the common way of looking at it is already enough to judge its genius, but I think this is another feasible one. As they say “Words are form, man gives the meaning.” There have been few moments of genuine awe in my reading experiences and I can without any trace of doubt say that reading my first C
Richard Derus
BkC 18) Coetzee, J.M., DISGRACE: Wonderful writing, is there a story here?

I think I must have been in a foul humor when I wrote that. There is indeed a story here.

About disgrace, about the taking of grace from another being, about the horrors of which grace, in its religious meaning, is capable of holding back.

David Lurie, fifty-two, isn't a bad man. He isn't a good man, either. He is a human male possessed of a libido and enough facility of mind and tongue to service that libido's demands. This
Dec 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like very much to be able to coherently refute this novel. After finishing it I felt as though I had maybe been taken in because while reading it I accepted its premise(s), but afterwards I wondered if what had seemed true really held up to the glare of daylight.

There was a review by James Wood that I liked a lot, and here is a quote from it: “But people like novels that, however intelligently, tell them what to think, that table ideas and issues - novels that are discussable. Above all
Rakhi Dalal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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“When all else fails, philosophize.” 242 likes
“(I)f we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.” 154 likes
More quotes…