Disgrace – J M Coetzee

READ FOR BOOKCLUB
Chosen by Jo

In mimicry of his South African homeland, professor David Lurie seduces one of his students and sets in motion a chain of events that leave him utterly disgraced

⚑ “I admire Coetzee hugely after reading this great story – he made me really like an unlikeable character. The development of David is incredibly clever with him quickly coming to shape into an arrogant exploiter of women with very creepy overtones. However his concern for his daughter in trying to persuade her to follow a different path was endearing. There are a few ways that the theme of disgrace is represented with profound effect: there is David’s disgrace, Lucy’s disgrace and the historical disgrace of South Africa. This was not a light-hearted read, in fact very dark and depressing in many ways but the skill of Coetzee in making such topics enjoyable to read shows his talent. I think I may even read it again.” – Jo

⚑ “David Lurie is a complete and captivating character, both hypocritical and inconsistent, and his patronising habits and remarks frustratingly charming. It is deeply disturbing to enjoy someone so egotistical, but Coetzee’s character is tremendously well-written. It’s hard not to imagine him as a real person, who has the advantage of sharing his innermost thoughts and justifications and therefore inciting sympathy. The situation he finds himself in supplies a revealing story about the state of South Africa in the ’90s, through themes of disgrace and redemption. The entire novel is devastating and unputdownable and leaves an imprint that never goes away. This was my third re-read and was just as affecting as the first.” – Rachel

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Published 1999
Seeker & Warburg
220 pages

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