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Books / Writing > What's all the hubub about J.M. Coetzee

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message 1: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
I know you recently finished Waiting for the Barbarians, RA. And I recall reading an epic thread that stemmed from a review of another of this author's books.

What's the deal? Is he the current it writer of the moment? Are all the cool kids reading him? Or are all the cool kids reviewing his books en masse because getting him, and having an opinion on his style is the hip thing to do?

I honestly need to know if this is somebody I need to be reading. Anybody?


message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard | 347 comments Jessica used to have a crush on him, but I see she's either updated her opinion or just her profile.

As a South African author, I have referred to Coetzee as "our father who art in Oz" (he now lives in Australia), because he has quite an influence on the SA literary scene and elsewhere.

He writes compact novels, so it's quite easy to get a taste of his style. Disgrace is in my all-time top ten, and I also thoroughly enjoyed The Life and Times of Michael K.

And had I mentioned he is a Nobel laureate?





message 3: by Matt (new)

Matt | 819 comments I'm so totally unhip (*bows head*), but yes, you should definitely check out "Waiting for the Barbarians." It was published in 1980 but reads almost like an allegorical critique of the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror - especially in regards to the "you're with us or against us" mentality immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

Aside from that, there are so many other themes woven into this short read (160 pgs.) that do not seem overly labored as Coetzee is the master of saying a lot with few words.

Definitely check him out. "Disgrace" was good also, but I tend to avoid reading more than two books in a row by the same author, so I will probably explore some of his other works next month.


message 4: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 16, 2009 01:26AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments You know, I think the interest in Coetzee is an example of the best of goodreads in action. I had once checked out Disgrace from the library but didn't get that far into it. However, when three or four GR people I respect read and commented on Waiting for the Barbarians I put the book on the list and read it as soon as I could. And I liked it a lot. Tad's right, it's a quick read, too, so you don't have to devote a lot of effort into something completely alien.

I'm afraid my "cool kids" comment may have rubbed some people the wrong way, although I meant that comment as totally silly and have already apologized for it a number of times. Also, I believe some things I said in another context, privately, were taken out of context and spread around the goodreads back hallways. Oh well. I learned from the experience, and I'll be more careful in the future.

Beyond Coetzee and all the joking about how we don't have any time left to read "real" books because we're on goodreads, I've read a slew of great books recommended by GR people. So thanks, everyone, for your recommendations.

But I'm still not reading The Savage Detectives, whatever anybody says.

:)


message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard | 347 comments I'm smoking a hubub right now, King. One of the little perks of my place of residence.

I've added "Waiting for the Barbarians" to my to-read list. (This decision has nothing to do with the hubub I'm smoking, by the way.)


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) I now have a crush on Damon Galgut, Richard, I've traded Coetzee for him!...uh, well...except, um, I found out he's gay. So....by the time the mania has shifted from Coetzee to Galgut, I'll be onto someone else!


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) other hububs I've noticed on GR:
Roberto Bolano (still going on) (read "Last Evenings on Earth," RA, a brilliant collection of stories, I'll eat my proverbial hat if you don't like it-)
and now, Toni Morrison is getting her due as well...



message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard | 347 comments Lucky Damon. Wonder who'll be next... (insert smiley emoticon thingy with dangling tongue)


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) p.s. Coetzee also won the Booker twice, the only author yet to do so, if I'm not mistaken...


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) yes, Richard I'm saving the best for last!
:)


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard | 347 comments Aha, just desserts in more ways than one.


message 12: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Thanks, all, for answering my question quickly and thouroughly. I'm adding Waiting for the Barbarians to my list at the CSU library ahora.

I agree, RA, I love how these groups of fanatical readers (and writers) can come together to give really good books (and authors) their just due.


message 13: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 347 comments Jessica, Peter Carey has won the Booker twice as well. Once in 1988 for Oscar & Lucinda and again in 2001 for The True History of the Kelly Gang.


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) ah thanks for the correction Logan. One can always count on other GRers to know more than oneself!

I've not read much peter carey, a little...


message 15: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24076 comments Mod
I don't know! I've never read Coetzee.

But I think we should move this to BOOKS.


message 16: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Seriously. I hate this author. As do I Don DeLillo.


message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Janine sent me one of his books last year. It's on my list to read before this year is out.


message 18: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Read it. Like it. Review it.


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