Summertime – J M Coetzee


This fictionalised memoir details the life of John Coetzee from the perspective of five people who have known him. 

❚ “In this book, a fictional young English biographer is researching a book about the late South African writer John Coetzee. The book focuses on Coetzee in his thirties, a time, the biographer is convinced, when Coetzee was finding himself as a writer.

“The biographer lives in a rundown cottage in the Cape Town suburbs with his widowed father. Having never met the man himself, the biographer interviews five people who knew Coetzee well, including a married woman with whom he had an affair, his cousin Margot, and a Brazilian dancer whose daughter took English lessons with him.

“These accounts add up to an image of an awkward, reserved, and bookish young man who finds it hard to make meaningful connections with the people around him.”

Well, that is what you risk when you fall in love. You risk losing your dignity.

J M Coetzee has created a work of wit. The biographical nature of this book was continually hard to fathom as I realised the author was writing a book from the perspective of a biographer about himself. Once I had grasped the way it was written I thought it was so very clever and often funny. A wholly satisfying read.” – Jo

❚ “J M Coetzee is one of a handful of authors whose work I rush out to buy as soon as it’s on the bookshelves. And as usual I was not disappointed by his latest book. His ability to find a new way to present literature or a new angle to look at something from is astounding. I loved that he was writing about a biographer, writing about himself.” – Rachel

Published 2009
Harvill Secker
224 pages

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