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Slow Man

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  7,920 ratings  ·  675 reviews
Paul Rayment is on the threshold of a comfortable old age when a calamitous cycling accident results in the amputation of a leg. Humiliated, his body truncated, his life circumscribed, he turns away from his friends. He hires a nurse named Marijana, with whom he has a European childhood in common: hers in Croatia, his in France. Tactfully and efficiently she ministers to h ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Secker
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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 ·  7,920 ratings  ·  675 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
4. Slow man, J.M. Coetzee

Slow Man is a 2005 novel by South African-born Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee, and concerns a man who must learn to adapt after losing a leg in a road accident. The novel has many varied themes, including the nature of care, the relationship between an author and his characters, and man's drive to leave a legacy.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه جولای سال 2014 میلادی

عنوان: مرد آهسته؛ اثر: جان مکسول کوتسی؛ برگردان: محسن مینوخرد؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، چشمه، 1387، در 276صفحه، شاب
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't deny that JM Coetzee is indeed a talented writer. Clear, concise, exacting prose. And duh, he did win the Nobel Prize after all. But I don't think this one is the one read. ("Disgrace" probably is.) What starts out as a quite conventional story soon morphs into something bordering on ludicrous. Is it magical realism? A darkly comedic satire on death vs. consciousness? Or just a novelist indulging in not having to adhere to any chosen path or structure? And not bothering to answer some ke ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4th Coetzee book I've read: what makes this possible, not getting bored by the same author's voice while reading Coetzee all summer long, is his outstanding talent for making the novel readable. All four novels I've read ("Disgrace," "Elizabeth Costello," "Life and Times of Michael K.," this, & currently a fifth classic: "Waiting for the Barbarians") are distinctly different from each other, and this being his most current (perhaps there is a newer?) it has the figure of the lonely fallen man (" ...more
Megan Baxter
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Coetzee, and for the first sixty pages, it seemed to be an interesting but not arresting book about an older man coping with losing a leg, and his mobility and freedom, and the after effects of such a loss, including falling in love with his nurse. Nothing earthshattering.

And then the author showed up.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can rea
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I love about Coetzee is that he isn’t afraid of fitting a tire over the goat’s torso. As I’m reading the reviews of this book from my other Goodreads buddies, many seem disturbed by the character Elizabeth Costello, who truly breaks with logic and knows impossible details of characters. In other words she is a meta-character who speechifies some of the arguments and questions I’m sure Coetzee had in writing this book, and in the hands of a post-modernist dilettante, this character would hav ...more
Charles Matthews
This review originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:

When you've won every possible literary award, including the Nobel Prize, you're entitled to indulge yourself a little. That, at least, is my explanation for how J.M. Coetzee came up with this fascinating flop of a novel.

''Slow Man'' begins with Paul Rayment, a photographer who lives in Australia, losing a leg in a bicycle accident. The 60-year-old Rayment, who lives alone and has no close family, descends into bitterness. He refuses
M. Sarki
Dec 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: abandoned
I read far more than was necessary to finally determine this book was not worth reading. Upon the entrance of Elizabeth Costello I knew pretty much that I was in for a weighty disappointment. The main character and his stubborn life-style refusals and insistence on furthering an ill-fated and inappropriate love affair left me feeling basically disgusted with the pitiful old gent. I was embarrassed for all aging men and what they might become if served heaped on a plate filled with leftover medio ...more
Connie G
"The blow catches him from the right, sharp and surprising and painful, like a bolt of electricity, lifting him up off the bicycle." Paul Rayment, a photographer in Adelaide, finds himself in a hospital recovering from a bicycle accident, with one leg amputated above the knee. He refuses a prosthesis and opts for nursing care. After going through a succession of nurses, he develops feelings for a Croatian nurse, Marijana, a married woman with three children. In addition to his loss of independen ...more
Oct 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a complicated book to write about in a few words. On one level it is a story of a sad, isolated man who suffers the loss of a leg in an accident and who becomes hopelessly and inappropriately infatuated with the woman taking care of him. On another level it is the a mediation about the craft of fiction writing and the mysterious relationship between the writer (Coetzee aka Elizabeth Costello) and the character he/she is creating. At the half-way point of the story, the protagonist says s ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first reading of author J.M. Coetzee, multiple winner of the Booker Prize as well as a Nobel Prize winner. This South African author relocated to Australia in 2002, and I am trying to figure out why I had never heard of him. I have another one of his books on my Kindle I should get to before long.
This book is interesting, moving, thought provoking, sometimes frustrating but also has much to amuse the reader. Our "Slow Man" Paul would seem to be a physically fit, self-contained man liv
Having been alienated by the end of Foe, I nonetheless plugged on with another Coetzee, bought at Antiquariaat Klikspaan in Leiden. It's a shop with an excellent range of interesting literature, I picked up lots of books on spec.

Some complain of the tedious nature of the Costello woman but I think that Coetzee is being ruthlessly honest. Writers are self-centered bores with their own ends at heart. Dispensing bits of wisdom to their captive audience at will - and who is more captive than one's o
Nov 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At the outset, I thought I was going to love this book, as I liked the author's writing style. Being 61 myself however, I got a little tired of his emphasis on how old a man he was. Please, 60 is not that old. Likely though, with the character being suddenly disabled, he likely felt that way, and that was probably the point. I found that as the book went on(and on and on) I got a bit tired of his whining and self absorption, and was just wanting the book to be finished.
Elizabeth was an odd addi
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful novel this is. Coetzee is an artist of the novel, and in Slow Man he lets us in on how he practices his art.
The story begins with a traumatic accident that ends in the amputation of Paul Rayment's leg (not a spoiler, it's on the back cover of the book), and his adjustment, or rather lack thereof, to his new condition. And then, with no seeming connection to the story we have been reading so far, Elizabeth Costello, a novelist known to us from a previous Coetzee novel, aggressiv
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found Paul's character quite well developed, particularly his self-absorption (e.g., others seem to exist only his limited perception of them). I found myself thinking about the psychological theory of the tasks of middle-to-advanced age. Namely, a sense of accomplishment is key to navigating the final stages of life. This seems to be Paul's problem; when he reflects on his life, he feels he has accomplished little and is particularly bothered by the fact that he is childless.

Despite my appre
Larry Buhl
I hate books that make me feel dumb. In some cases I assume it's the author's fault, bad writer trying to be clever, failing. In this case, the guy has won every writing award possible, so he MUST be brilliant and I MUST be missing something. It starts off well: aging single man has a bike accident and loses his leg, pities himself and ruminates on his life. Clear, concise. Then it takes a jaunt into Twilight Zone territory. An annoying woman, an author, that he doesn't know, moves in and takes ...more
Ravi Gangwani
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what the classics teach us. Be a main character. Otherwise what is life for ?

I will not write review. Because you don't write review for God. And all those who know me, they all know that I preach Sir J.M.Coetzee. He is my God, my inspiration. How you can extract myriad meanings of life, desire, suffering, from very ordinary stories. Only Sir Coetzee knows this art.
Ginger Bensman
Two and a half stars rounded to three. Slow Man was a difficult book for me to get through. I loved the beginning chapters and then it turned into something else entirely. Coetzee is a talented writer, and so celebrated that my irritation with the reading experience prompted a lot of self examination on my part. Never-the-less . . .

Slow Man is Coetzee, a talented writer, strutting and preening. The book was too self conscious for my taste. I wanted an immersive experience with characters I coul
Linda Abhors the New GR Design
So many have already pointed out the contradictions in this novel that I won't repeat them. Only note that in its metafictional references, it recalled Unamuno's "Niebla" .......but without the heavy-handed determinism. Almost as though Coetzee just couldn't bring himself to do it, to dive in head-first. While not as moving (in an ugly way) as "Disgrace", it does present musings on a variety of topics: photography, authorship and ownership, aging alone, love, beauty and attraction. In two of the ...more
Robert Wechsler
I fel this was far from Coetzee's best work, but its problems are inextricably bound to one of the novel’s goals, as I read it: lampooning fiction’s insistence on action. The result of this is, in the novel's second half, an appropriate dullness, but dullness all the same.

My principal interest was in watching Coetzee do what he felt he needed to do, despite the effect it may have on the reader. It’s great that he has the self-control to keep the novel from falling into broad humor, which would h
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
"You asked me for a story, I gave you a story. I am sorry you don't like it. You say you want to hear stories, I offer you stories, and I get back nothing except ridicule and scorn. Whay kind of exchange is that?"

Good point. I picked up Slow Man hoping to find some consolation or life lesson apt to my needs. I didn't find it here.
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldntfinish
I SURRENDER. A friend recommended this book and I took it out of the library about 2300 times, meaning to read it, never getting around to it because ones I was more excited about always took precedence. Finally this last time I resolved I would read the damn thing before I turned it in again.

And at first I was into it. Interesting. Story about an older dude who loses a leg in a bicycle accident and let's just say he doesn't have the best attitude about it. Then he falls for his home care nurse
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: ex-1001, booker
This is the first novel of J. M. Coetzee after he won the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature. This 264-page novel is another proof that he deserved all the praises bestowed to him including the only novelist who won Booker Prize twice.

Up to around 240+ pages the novel was so strong that I would not mind giving it a 5-star rating. It has unbelievable characters for a very simple plot: a 60-year old guy divorcee who lost his right leg and thought of having an instant family via his caretaker. Coetzee
Pete Danko
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this account of Coetzee by the writer Rian Malan: "Coetzee is a man of almost monkish self-discipline and dedication. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat. He cycles vast distances to keep fit and spends at least an hour at his writing-desk each morning, seven days a week. A colleague who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once. An acquaintance has attended several dinner parties where Coetzee has uttered not a single word."

Of course Coetzee's wo
4* Disgrace
4* Waiting for the Barbarians
4* Foe
4* The Master of Petersburg
3* Slow Man
TR Elizabeth Costello
TR Youth
TR Dusklands
TR Boyhood
TR Summertime
TR Life and Times of Michael K
Sumallya Mukhopadhyay
Slow Man, Coetzee

Do writers, in general, suck the life out of the characters to conjure up a novel? Do they not sympathise with the characters they have created with the stroke of their pen? Do they not feel their pain?

I do not understand Coetzee. I do not want to. It is Elizabeth Costello, the Australian novelist who appears in' Slow Man', trying to direct the path of Paul Rayment’s life, whom I want to decipher. She says that Paul Rayment has happened to her; he has appeared in some imaginativ
In this novel by Coetzee, I felt that the author was playing around a bit with experimental novel in his introduction of Elizabeth Costello as an author into this story of Paul, an older man who lost a leg in a car/bicycle accident. Coetzee is exploring the nature of care, man's desire to leave a legacy and the authors' relationship with the characters. Coetzee references Beckett early on (page 141); four people in four corners being wasted like tramps in Beckett. Elizabeth Costello states that ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: over-70
This book lingered on my TBR shelves for far too long. I know Coetzee has won many awards. This is one of the two books by him on my shelves and the one that has been there the longest and as I surveyed the shelf for the next book to crack, I decided its time had come.

The beginning, with an older man - Paul - being hit by a bicycle, made me think of How It All Began where the book starts with an older woman being mugged. But not much was similar after the opening. Paul is badly mangled and he l
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001
Paul, riding his bike is hit by a car, and his leg takes the brunt of the crash. The doctors have to amputate, and Paul refuses to have a prosthesis. I had tried to read this book years ago, but I wasn't able to get through it. Even this time, I felt I had to force myself to finish it. One of the reviewers thought that this book was magical realism, and I see the point.
While Paul is recovering he requires a lot of in home care. Paul falls in love with his nurse, and a woman named Elizabeth Cost
Gent Larsson
This rating is a very personal one, as this is about the most annoying character I have ever had the displeasure to read about. The writer's craft alone, however, would earn it 4 stars, but my dislike - and sympathy - for the main character taints my personal reading experience too much. The author certainly made him real enough. And I do not care much for reality.
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readownedloved
For some of my commentary on Coetzee as an author in general, please refer to my review of Disgrace, his other novel I have read.

Slow Man, like Disgrace, takes an older-middle-aged gentleman in South Africa, and has something untoward happen to him. In a way, it could almost be called Disgrace, the Sequel. How creative can you be, right? Well, it is different, even though there are similarities, and even though it's fairly obvious that Coetzee himself is an older-middle-aged man living in South
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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.

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