Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coetzee: smile, please

On the flight last night to Dublin, I read J.M. Coetzee's sorrowful, but nevertheless lyrical, meditation on his development as a writer, Youth. Coetzee structures this collection of essays in an odd way, referring to himself throughout as 'he' (as opposed to the first person, 'I'). The result is a reading experience dominated by a sense of distance - and, as one proceeds, despair. Waiting for the Barbarians was a dark book; so, too, was Disgrace. With Youth, my third foray into the world of Coetzee, I wondered whether this talented South African ever wagers a smile...

(A question: is there something of Rousseau's Confessions in Coetzee's Youth?)

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Jesse. I wondered the same thing and enjoyed this: