Disgrace – J M Coetzee


Chosen by Rachel

A South African professor loses everything and takes refuge on his daughter’s farm on the Eastern Cape as he seeks redemption. 

♥ “David Lurie is a disgraced professor who leaves behind his university and city life in Capetown to take refuge on his daughter’s farm. His daughter Lucy is fighting her own battles with a neighbouring black man who has overcome prejudice to become a landowner, but who still holds a grudge about apartheid of the past.

“David, Lucy and Petrus clash in a violence manner, leaving David shaken to the core and Lucy in disbelief, yet she cannot blame him for feeling this way towards white people.

“The disgrace of David, and then of Lucy is also the disgrace of South Africa and its tormented history . The metaphorical book does not offer a solution to complexities of apartheid but highlights how the injustices have shaped the country and its people.

“Disgrace won the Booker Prize in 1999, the second time Coetzee had won the prize. In 2003, he was also awarded the Nobel prize in literature.

Yet she too will have to leave, in the long run. As a woman alone on a farm she has no future, that is clear. Even the days Ettinger, with his guns and barbed wire and alarm systems, are numbered. If Lucy has any sense she will quit before a fate befalls her worse than a fate worse than death. But of course she will not. She is stubborn, and immersed, too, in the life she has chosen.

♥ “Let’s be honest here, Disgrace is somber, haunting and a little disturbing. But there’s something highly rewarding about it, too. I may have been reading between my fingers in some cases but I could not put the book down. The characters are, for better or worse, alluring, and the theme of redemption is an emotional pull, especially with the realisation that David Lurie’s story is a small scale reflection of South Africa’s political and discriminatory problems. I will never forget this book. The movie does it justice too, John Malkovich as David Lurie is perfect.” – Rachel

Published 1999
Secker & Warburg
218 pages

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