Blog: Another Read Through

May Book Review

June 15, 2016 // monthly book review

Disgrace, by JM Coetzee, read this month. 1.5 (out of 5) stars.

I so often don’t have a great relationship with Pulitzer winners.

I guess I’ll have to read this again to see if I feel the same way about it, but this felt to me like an aging white man unable to come to terms with changing sexual and racial equality, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t know if I’ve been reading too much commentary lately about books written by white men for white men, but I’ve never read a book that felt more like that than this one. And, I think because of that, all the annoyances (or worse) that I felt toward the main character or the story, I can’t seem to separate from Coetzee, who I’d never read before, and really know nothing about.

David Lurie has “an affair” with a student of his, which looks exactly like rape, and which is never remotely described that way. (Even ignoring the professor/student relationship, she expressly says no, after he plies her with alcohol. I don’t know the laws in South Africa, but he’s committed rape three different ways in the USA, and I suspect it’s the same there.) So this is a story of a man who loses control of his life, from his job and his home to his relationships with friends and his daughter. The racial stuff I don’t know enough about South Africa to really evaluate. His character, though – it seems that we’re not supposed to think of him as a bad guy (even if not a good guy) although he’s completely reprehensible. His salvation in the end? I couldn’t be made to give a shit.

“‘…a woman’s beauty does not belong to her alone. It is part of the bounty she brings into the world. She has a duty to share it.'”

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