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Disgrace

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  77,066 ratings  ·  5,635 reviews
A divorced, middle-aged English professor finds himself increasingly unable to resist affairs with his female students. When discovered by the college authorities, he is expected to apologise and repent in an effort to save his job, but he refuses to become a scapegoat in what he see as as a show trial designed to reinforce a stringent political correctness.
He preempts
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Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 27th 2008 by Penguin (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
Jeff That was my original thought during the first 1/3 of the book or so. You must not have finished it. The last 2/3s was a very compelling story. I'm…moreThat was my original thought during the first 1/3 of the book or so. You must not have finished it. The last 2/3s was a very compelling story. I'm sorry you either didn't stick with it, or get it.(less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  77,066 ratings  ·  5,635 reviews


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J
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 hell
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Lizzy
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
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
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 rise....brutal.....in South Africa. ( and this
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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
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Ilse
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favourites
‘Perhaps it does us good to have a fall every now and then. As long as we don’t break’.

Professor David Lurie is forced to resign when his affair with a student comes to light. His resignation and the humiliations he gets to swallow as a parent burn chinks in his cynical armour and self-image. By volunteering in a veterinary clinic, his indifference to man and animal gradually gives way to empathy. Disgrace deals with the human inability to communicate effectively and with the uncertain
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Ben
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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Brina
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
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Candi
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 ...more
Robin
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.
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Steve
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
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Nate
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ummm...no. 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
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Garima
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
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Warwick
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 to
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Kai
May 22, 2018 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, read-for-uni
Listen. I decided I do not want to read stories written by men about men who are misogynistic pieces of shit and also rapists. I can and will happily go without the pretentious literary value these books want to teach me.
Steven Godin
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-africa, fiction
Not that I'm in the slightest way bothered, but this happened to be my very first Booker Prize novel. I generally have zero interest in when books get awards, and I only found out on the day I purchased this that Disgrace bagged the Booker back in 99. Whether or not it deserved it, and how significant the Booker is, I have absolutely no idea. All I do know is that I really liked this. But that doesn't all of a sudden mean I'm likely to go on a frantic search and stack up on Booker prize novels, ...more
Karen
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many themes taking place in this short novel that starts out with a twice divorced, 52 yr old college professor in South Africa losing his career after a seduction and affair with a young student of his...his state of “disgrace”

He ends up going to the rural part of the region, to spend time with his grown daughter. While there, the daughters house is burglarized and acts of violence occur “disgraced” again.

I’m kind of at a loss for words to review this.. read others reviews..
This is quite a
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Kim
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
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Sara
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
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?
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Dolors
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
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Perry
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
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Peter
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Humiliation
There are a couple of challenging topics in J.M. Coetzee's book Disgrace. The main protagonist, David Lurie, bitterly resigns his academic position at the Univerity of Cape Town after an affair with a student. The relationship issue of teacher-student ethics is confronted when David refuses to apologise publicly for what he saw as a consensual adult relationship. What goes deeper than this misjudged affair, is David's perspective on women, and with 2 failed marriages behind him, it
...more
Pouting Always
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think if someone described the plot of this book to me I would think that this is a book that I would enjoy yet here we are. I'm not sure how to even explain what about this book appeals to me. I think it's that the writing felt really wonderful and every word felt meaningful and right. I can't stand overly verbose prose and nothing about this felt this way. I think I also just really enjoy flawed characters, and David, the main character, clearly has his flaws. I just enjoyed the ...more
She-Who-Reads
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 ...more
Jan-Maat
Oh this seems to be one of those books which becomes more awkward and difficult with the second reading, maybe then it is best to avoid reading a third time.

I might say that it is a novel about the end of the Roman Empire. Imperial authority is mostly gone, certain imperial organisations remain like the police and the hospitals, but they are grimly or comically ineffective. A Roman way of life persists in the towns and cities, at least for the time being, but there are signs that this may be a
...more
Jessica
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
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace is a novel by J. M. Coetzee, published in 1999. David Lurie is a South African professor of English who loses everything: his reputation, his job, his peace of mind, his dreams of artistic success, and finally even his ability to protect his own daughter. He is twice-divorced and dissatisfied with his job as a 'communications' lecturer, teaching a class in romantic literature at a technical university in Cape Town in post-apartheid South Africa. Lurie's sexual
...more
Michael
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is like a smooth thin stiletto that's already pierced your gut before you realize what's going on. The prose is economical and precise, the humor black, the outlook bleak, and yet there's an undeniable passion and rage at its still core: a bewilderment at the world and what we've become, what we've done to places like South Africa and the creatures in it, and the many flaws of the human characters whose consequences spill everywhere. There are no tidy resolutions here, and yet it's ...more
Fabian
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 ...more
Glenn Sumi
Note: just realized there might be spoilers in my original review. I've now indicated them below! I don't think Coetzee is really a plot-driven, spoilery kinda author. And actually, these details might be helpful going in. Make up your own mind!

This is the first book I’ve read by South African Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, but it won’t be the last. There’s a tough, uncompromising intelligence at work here, and an admirable ambiguity to the narrative and voice.

I’m not surprised it was adapted into
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Bianca
I forget that not everyone has a potty mouth like I do, soDISCLAIMER a little bit of cussing coming up.

Disgrace was quite a challenging read, not because of the writing, which was excellent, but because of its content.

Arguably, it wasn't the best time to read this kind of novel.

This is a complex novel about post-Apartheid South Africa, where things are changing at a fast pace. This is about race relations, about men and women, fathers and daughters, about city vs country and so much more.

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John Maxwell Coetzee is an author and academic from South Africa. He became an Australian citizen in 2006 after relocating there in 2002. 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.
“When all else fails, philosophize.” 274 likes
“(I)f we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.” 183 likes
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