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Waiting for the Barbarians

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  21,460 ratings  ·  1,491 reviews
For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts arrive, however, he witnesses the Empire's cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war. Jolted into sympathy for their victims, he commits a quixotic act of rebellion that bran ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published October 27th 1980)
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Issa Deerbany
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners
هذا هو ما تقدمه الحضارات الغربية، بعد ان يأتي البرابرة للتجارة مع المستوطنة او البلدة الحدودية لإمبراطورية ما. تجدهم نائمين في البرك وفِي الطرقات والمجارير بعد ليلة سكر وخمر.

لم تكن البلدة تتعرض الى اَي خطر، فالبرابرة لا يراهم احد الا في موسم معين يتاجرون وينفقون اموالهم على الخمر ثم يغادرون.

حتى جاء العسكر وتحت شعارات حب الوطن والخطر المحيط بالوطن يبدأون حملة تعقب للبرابرة وأسرهم وتعذيبهم.

هكذا هم العسكر في كل مكان وزمان يعرفون كل شيء ويفهمون بكل شيء والمدني حتى لو كان قاضيا ويدير بلدة بدون اَي مش
It is impossible to read this and not be reminded of an almost genetically programmed inferiority complex, the burden of history only the descendants of the colonized have to bear. Despite those smug pronouncements of the 21st century being an era of a fair and equitable world and the hard battles won in favor of interracial harmony, there's the fact of your friend barely suppressing a squawk of alarm when you express your admiration for Idris Elba - no female I am acquainted with in real life h ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"They do not care that once the ground is cleared the wind begins to eat at the soil and the desert advances. Thus the expeditionary force against the barbarians prepared for its campaign, ravaging the earth, wasting our patrimony."

Is this--my 5th one read--THE quintessential Coetzee? (I may or not be nodding my head.)

Earlier than "Life and Times of Micheal K.", it is here that we see the true beginnings of Coetzee's motifs, as well as the accomplished writer's poetics. A man whose fortune is re
After the shock of the recent Paris attacks I don’t know precisely why it made me recall Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians that I read a few years ago. Yesterday it was a terrorist attack and perhaps no direct result of imperialism, but maybe the fears that the recent events provoked in me are somewhat akin to those suffered in this tiny frontier settlement with the arrival of interrogation experts. Today we don’t know how to defend ourselves against such tragedy, how can we escape or where ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
287. Waiting For The Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee
Waiting for the Barbarians is a novel by the South African-born Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee. First published in 1980. The story is narrated in the first person by the unnamed magistrate of a small colonial town that exists as the territorial frontier of "the Empire". The Magistrate's rather peaceful existence comes to an end with the Empire's declaration of a state of emergency and with the deployment of the Third Bureau—special forces of the Empire—
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sudafrica
Qual è compito della letteratura, rassicurarci o metterci paura?

Con questo libro, Coetzee risponde senza dubbio adottando la seconda ipotesi.

Accogliendo i barbari

Elizabeth Costello, nel romanzo omonimo, si descrive così, come se dovesse pubblicare un annuncio personale: Divorziata, bianca, altezza 1.70, sessantenne, in corsa verso la morte che le corre incontro allo stesso passo, cerco dio, immortale, in qualunque forma terrestre, per fini per i quali non bastano le parole.

Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I’m going to write two Waiting for the Barbarians reviews. The first, in italics, is the one that someone seems to expect, the second is the one I would normally write. Take your pick!

Waiting for the Barbarians always reminds me of this time I was on a cross-country flight from DC to Oakland. This 400 pound Samoan guy in a black silk suit sat across the aisle from me. He feverishly wrote in his journal the entire flight, whispering things like “holy fuck!” and “yes, shit, I’ve got it!” to himsel
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, coetzee
Coetzee has written a great little novel for us all. You should read it.

A novel to be read by every generation. An allegory of every empire (including those past, those current and those to come). Empires need enemies in order to maintain control. Hence the 'infidels, savages, Jews, Muslims, barbarians and terrorists' that we civilized empires constantly hold up as threats to our very existence.

And how do empires respond to real or imagined barbarians? By behaving like barbarians, by becoming
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
افتعال الحكومات للأخطار للدخول في حروب ضد أعداء وهميين... فكرة واقعية جدا
راوي الرواية قاضي في بلدة في الواحات على حدود امبراطورية ما, يعارض قائد الجيش القادم لمحاربة البرابرة المسالمين المقيمين خارج حدود الامبراطورية بدعوى ان الامبراطورية مهددة بهجوم البرابرة وأنهم خطر على الأمن.
الرواية تعرض الكثير من القضايا, حقيقة السلطة, التعذيب, الاحتقار ونظرة المستعمِر الدونية لسكان الأرض الأصليين, العدالة والقانون اللي ما كان لهم أي قيمة في مواجهة سلطة القوة والبطش
السرد رائع والأسلوب يعتمد على الحوار الداخ
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
بانتظار البرابرة

عن صناعة الغول نتحدث، حينما يستحث الشعب جُلّ مخيلته فيخلق لنفسه غولاً, ثم يغذيه فضلة خوفه حتى يتضخم الغول ويلتهم صانعه. عن هوس الجموع نتكلم، عن أن يعتزل الشعب التفكير ويتبع ما يقال له ويسمعه دون التوقف هنيهة لإعادة التفكير فيغدو مطرقة طيعة بيد المحرضين، يهشم رأسه على رأس غيره، وما من رابح هنالك. نناقش فكرة العدالة، أيمكن تطبيقها على الأرض؟ أما الضمير وما أدراك مالضمير؟ ذلك النواح الذي لا ينقطع، فيخيرك ما بين الصراع اللانهائي معه أو أن تردي نفسك لتخرس إلحاحه.

هذه الرواية من النوع ا
Steven Godin
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Waiting for the Barbarians, my first novel by the 2003 recipient Nobel Prize in Literature, was a distinguished piece of fiction, one of urgency and profundity, written with a lingering Faulkneresque prose. The story of an imaginary Empire, set in an unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a version of his country of birth, South Africa, allows Coetzee some esthetic distance from his subject, for even while remaining locked with the history of his moment, he isn't completely at the mercy ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"From such beginnings grow obsessions: I am warned." pg.79

This quote, taken wildly out of context, serves as an accurate description of my first experience reading J.M. Coetzee. Having read this small book in its entirety throughout the last twenty four hours, I now have the urge to read his other works as soon as possible. It is interesting how Mr. Coetzee and this book in particular have become a recurring Goodreads meme of sorts over the last few weeks, so i'm guessing that i'm not alone in t
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Coetzee writes for academics. He writes to teach lessons, to have his themes discussed and perhaps to be chuckled at. I find his books rather deliberate, hardened and inevitable. Now, he’s a fine writer, can turn a passable phrase and get conceptual without becoming a total bore; but, he has a tendency to interpret his books for you and the mannerisms and hobbies of the characters in “Waiting for the Barbarians” slot them too neatly into representative categories, which makes this more of an all ...more
TAM •'
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TAM •' by: نادي-أصدقاء-نوبل


بدايةً حينما بدأت قراءة كتاب في انتظار البرابرة، كُنت أتوقع ظهور البرابرة بصورة أو بأخرى ولكن نسيت -لسذاجتي- أن عنوان الكتاب يشمل فعل الـ انتظار ، بمعنى آخر كان يجب أن أتوقع أن البرابرة لن يأتون وربما لن يكون لهم حتى ظل الحضور !ـ

بطل الرواية القاضي -الذي لم يذكر له اسم- الذي يملك نظرة مختلفة عن البرابرة عن ما يملكه نظام الإمبراطورية -التي لم يذكر لها اسم- التي يحكمها امبراطور -هو الآخر لم نعرف اسمه-، يعمل القاضي لصالح الإمبراطورية كـ قاضي ومدبّر لـ أمور الناس في قرية صغيرة -أيضا لم يذكر لها ا
In Waiting for the Barbarians, Coetzee has written a powerful, multilayered allegory. Its central theme deals with the implications of imperialism, but this examination creates a much wider array of harmonic overtones, which concern human nature in a broader sense. It illustrates the thinness of civilisation, its vulnerability, the eternal fear (and strangely corrupting attraction) of the seeming inevitability of its fall and rebirth, borne out time again by the cycles of history.

On a more pers
Mohamed Al
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
يمكن أن نطلق على هذه الرواية .. رواية الخوف بامتياز. يبدو لي كويتزي أنه جمع كل الخوف المتوفر في العالم وبثه بين أسطر وكلمات روايته هذه. كما عمد إلى زرع الخوف، وربما مخاوفه الشخصية، في كل الشخصيات التي تظهر وتختفي وتتحرك في حيز الخوف، كمن ارتكب جريمة وينتظر أن يأتي من يقتص منه!

كل الشخصيات تعيش في قلق كأنها نار تحت الرماد. لا تستطيع ألا تشعر وأنت تقرأ هذه الرواية بهذا الطغيان الكثيف لحالة الخوف. الخوف من أمر بسيط أو أمر عظيم. الخوف من مجهول قد يأتي وقد لا يأتي. أو الخوف من البرابرة الذين اتخذهم كو
عبدالله ناصر

ربما من الأفضل أولاً أن نقوم بقراءة قصيدة اليوناني العظيم كفافي و التي اقتبس عنوانها كوتزي و أوحت له بالرواية التي يُعتقد أنها كانت السبب الأول بفوز صاحبها الجنوب أفريقي بجائزة نوبل. لا أتفق مع مقدمة المترجمة التي اجتهدت و أصابت كما أخطأت أيضاً بافتراض تأثير مسرحية بيكيت العبثية " في انتظار غودو ". يكتب كوتزي متحرراً من الزمان و المكان حيث يعيش على تخوم الامبراطورية بعض من البرابرة الذين عرف عنهم ميلهم للسلم و الجهل كما عُرف أيضاً عن كونهم السكان الأصليين لهذه الأرض. البطل هو القاضي و رجل النظام
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Echi letterari? Coetzee compensa ampiamente con un valore aggiunto, anzi due o tre.
Il primo: Aspettando i barbari è opera di uno scrittore sudafricano bianco, erede di quei conquistatori boeri perlopiù coltivatori e pastori analfabeti che nel XVII secolo spinsero i nativi – i khoisan, i boscimani, i barbari, per intenderci - nelle terre più ostili del Sudafrica e deportarono schiavi perlopiù dal Mozambico, dall’Indonesia e dal Madagascar per rifornirsi di manodopera, ed erede anche di quei colon
Geçen hafta bir ders için Barbarları Beklerken'i okumamız gerekiyordu; ama kitabı sunacak kişi haricinde kimse bulamamıştı kitabı; çünkü maalesef baskısı tükenmiş. Ben tam sunum günüm bir de Kızılay'daki İmge Kitabevi'ne bakayım dedim, daha önce bakmadığıma pişman oldum. Sanırım oradaki son baskıyı da ben aldım. Umarım Can Yayınları kısa süre içinde yeniden basar kitabı; çünkü okunması gereken bir kitap bence.

"Bu düşler aşırı rahatlığın sonucu. Bana bir barbar ordusu gösterin, inanayım" (s.20).
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
"I should never have allowed the gates of the town to be opened to people who assert that there are higher considerations than those of decency."

Perhaps an epitaph for our world. If you like your Kafka with a large dose of morality in it, step this way. I wonder if there has ever been a period in human history in which this little work would not have its place however particularly apt it may seem right now.

This is the third Coetzee I've read now and all of them are economic in terms of paper spe
Araz Goran
هذه الرواية مثل الجحيم ثقيلة وكئيبة ومملة , كأنها مستنقع أبدي من العذاب
بالكاد أنهيتها وأشفقت ألا أنهيها , وكان الأجدر بي أن أشفق على نفسي أولاً !

فلسفة الرواية كانت عظيمة , تترجم الداء المستعصي لكل إمبراطورية أو حاكم مستبد في تركيع شعبه والقضاء كل مظاهر التمرد والحرية عن طريق صنع أعداء وهميين يهددون الدولة, ومن ثم ورسم هالات شيطانية حول أولئل الأعداء وتصويرهم كالخطرالأعظم ..
نجد أن كل السياسات الدولية الحالية قائمة على صنع تلك الفزاعات ناهيك عن مستبدي دول العالم الثالث ..

رغم ذلك فإن لا شئ سيعوضني
Raya راية
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"الألم هو الحقيقة وكل ما سواه خاضع للشك."

تكرر ظهور اسم هذه الرواية أمامي في الأشهر الأخيرة على موقع الجودريدز، وحتى في اقترحات الكتب في مجموعات القراءة. وقد وجدتها أيضاً موضوعة في إحدى رفوف الكتب وأنا أمشي في مكتبة الجامعة يوماً ما، وقتها راودتني رغبة عارمة باستعارتها لكنني أجّلت الفكرة. وانطفأت هذه الرغبة في خضم بحر الكتب اللامتناهية حولي. وفجأة نبتت في رأسي صورة غلاف الرواية بطيور البوم واسمها الغريب وشرعت في قرائتها مؤخراً..

تدور أحداث الرواية في مكان ما لا نعرف أين هو سوى أنه إمبراطورية كبير
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stelle, sud-africa
"E contro che cosa mi schiero, se non contro la scienza della degradazione che uccide della gente inginocchiata, confusa e coperta di vergogna ai suoi stessi occhi? Avrei avuto il coraggio di mettermi di fronte alla folla e chiedere giustizia per questi ridicoli prigionieri?"

Si può davvero passare una vita facendo finta di nulla?
Si può davvero fingere anche quando le ingiustizie accadono davanti ai tuoi occhi?

In questo racconto un ipotetico ed emblematico Impero si fa cacciatore dell'"altro",
D. Pow
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians is a stark, allegorical tale that is haunting, strange and filled with impending menace from page one. It is the tale of The Magistrate, a mid-level bureaucrat who presides over a small settlement on the edge of a pre-industrial Empire. The Empire is not named, the Barbarians are not specified, and though the particulars of the settings are echoed by historical counterparts, Coetzee leaves out enough details to make the place timeless, universal, fabulis ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While writing this review the commemoration of the assassination attempt on Hitler is held in Berlin. On this day, 70 years ago, world's history could have taken a turn for the better, but unfortunately the assassination failed. The people involved were executed on that same evening. Needless to say this took place without a charge or trial. But today we remember not only the group of Graf von Stauffenberg, but all resisters and dissidents of the Nazi terror, be they individuals of culture, chur ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Confini dell'Impero, confini della Giustizia o confini dell'essere uomo?

Un magistrato non più giovane è responsabile dell'amministrazione della Giustizia in una terra di confine di un luogo non contestualizzato. In realtà quest'uomo incarna e rappresenta il Potere e le Istituzioni di un Terzo Impero non meglio definito.

Il magistrato, dopo anni di tranquillo e benevolo esercizio, in cui ha cercato di entrare in contatto con ciò che è stata la Storia della terra e del popolo che si trova a gestir
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Brutal. And its political triad--empire, frontier settlers, barbarians--maps all too discomfitingly onto our own present political situation.
Abeer Saleh
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
في 220 صفحة, يأخذنا كوتزي لقراءة الماضي, والحاضر, و المستقبل, هنا نقرأ الأدوات التي يستخدمها أي نظام قمعي ليضمن بقاءه, الخوف من اللاشيء, المبالغة في صناعة الأعداء, و الأوهام التي تغسل بها أدمغة شعوب بأكملها, وسيناريوهات لا تمت للواقع / المنطق بصلة , لكنها استراتيجيات ناجحة جدًا في إقصاء أي رأي معارض أو رافض لهذا النظام , بالتالي ضمان استمراريته لفترة أطول.

- من هم البرابرة ؟
- ماهي الإمبراطورية التي احتضنت أحداث العمل ؟
- عن أي زمان يتحدث ؟
- هل المكان , الذي حصلت فيه أحداث الرواية, حقيقي أم من نس
mai ahmd
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
ليست رواية سهلة , إنها رواية تتداخل فيها الكثير من الأحداث والأحلام حتى لا تعرف إن كان ما يحدث جزء من حقيقة الأحداث أو فكرة خطرت في نفس بطل الرواية أو لعلها حلما من أحلامه التي لا تنتهي , الإمبراطورية التي يتحدث عنها الكاتب في الرواية لم يكن لها اسما قد تكون جنوب افريقيا وقد لا تكون وقد تكون أي مكان آخر يعيش فيه مستوطنون أرادوا تكوين امبراطورية لا يحدها مكان مستخدمين أبشع الوسائل لإخضاع السكان الأصليين !
يعيش سكان هذه المدينة في انتظار البرابرة الذين يرغبون في العيش بهدوء وسلام ولكن المستوطنين يص
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Prosto je neverovatno koliko se Kucijev stil promenio u dvadeset godina izmedju ovog romana i Sramote - varvari su daleko liričniji roman, čak bih rekao na ivici fantastike ogrnute u ruho realizma. Medjutim, ono što sada znam da je Kucijev primarna tematika i ono što ovde daje taj njegov karakteristični pečat po čemu se poznaje, jeste polemika o moralu.

Smešteno u grubo nacrtanu, vanvremensku analogiju Aparthejdu (tema iz današnjeg gledišta možda jeste malčice konzervativna – verujem da je za Ju
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Reading 1001: 0 - Impressions 7 20 Aug 23, 2017 09:48AM  
Reading 1001: 9. Review and Rating 8 19 Aug 04, 2017 10:21PM  
Reading 1001: 8. Quotes and Scenes 8 17 Aug 04, 2017 10:13PM  
Reading 1001: 6. Barbarians 10 20 Aug 04, 2017 09:51PM  
Reading 1001: 2. Magistrate's emotions 6 11 Aug 04, 2017 09:46PM  
Reading 1001: 1. Titles 9 12 Aug 04, 2017 09:35PM  
  • July's People
  • The Bottle Factory Outing
  • A Bend in the River
  • The Grass is Singing
  • Death and the King's Horseman: A Play
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • The Black Sheep
  • On Another Man's Wound
  • The Good Doctor
  • The Heart of Redness
  • Omeros
  • USA: The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • Nervous Conditions
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
  • A Dry White Season
  • Nightmare Abbey
  • Lanark
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.
“Pain is truth; all else is subject to doubt.” 66 likes
“You think you know what is just and what is not. I understand. We all think we know." I had no doubt, myself, then, that at each moment each one of us, man, woman, child, perhaps even the poor old horse turning the mill-wheel, knew what was just: all creatures come into the world bringing with them the memory of justice. "But we live in a world of laws," I said to my poor prisoner, "a world of the second-best. There is nothing we can do about that. We are fallen creatures. All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.” 39 likes
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