October 3, 2003 |
South African writer J.M. Coetzee, a master at highlighting the anguish in his racially divided home country, Thursday won the 2003 Nobel Prize in literature for novels "characterized by their well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and analytical brilliance." The 217-year-old Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, described Coetzee, 63, as a "scrupulous doubter, ruthless in his criticism of the cruel rationalism and cosmetic morality of Western civilization."
December 27, 2009 |
Summertime J.M. Coetzee Viking: 266 pp., $26.50 Fortunately "The Tempest" has no sixth act. What could Shakespeare have made out of Prospero after he broke his wand and renounced his magic? Just another pensioner with nothing to do but hang around, rehash old miracles, talk about himself. J.M. Coetzee, after a string of severe, demanding, sometimes parched, often-brilliant novels, has been turning inward. Two years ago, the journey led to "Diary of a Bad Year," whose central character, C., is barely even the writer's alter ego (strike the "alter")
September 5, 2013 |
I don't read J.M. Coetzee for pleasure. To be fair, I'm not sure anyone does. The 2003 Nobel laureate writes from his head more than his heart, framing novels that are philosophical and austere, books that break down the world in highly rational ways. Over the course of his career, he's been compared to Beckett and Kafka, although despite the occasional nod in their direction - the title character of his 1983 novel "The Life and Times of Michael K. " functions to some extent as an homage to "The Trial's" Josef K. - he lacks their appreciation of humor, of life as essentially absurd.
December 12, 1999 |
"Morals have bedded with story-telling since the magic of the imaginative capacity developed in the human brain." So wrote South Africa's Nadine Gordimer in 1988, one year before the end of apartheid, three years before her acceptance of the Nobel Prize for literature. Politics, on the other hand, "somehow followed morals in, picking the lock and immobilizing the alarm system."
December 30, 2007 |
He was never waiting for the barbarians. Even in the novel bearing that name, published in Great Britain in 1980, the South African writer and now Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee situated them in our midst. They were not the proclaimed threat on the periphery of the unnamed Empire of his allegory, but agents of the state itself, which had declared emergency powers and taken to seizing and torturing prisoners.
September 24, 2005 |
THE first moments of J.M. Coetzee's new novel describe a cyclist being struck hard by a car. Paul Rayment's crushed leg is amputated hours later. When he awakes in the hospital after the operation, he signs forms and in the blank space next to the word "family," he writes "none." Paul refuses a prosthesis and tells the doctors that he prefers to care for himself. Despite his reluctance to accept professional care, they engage a private nurse to help him at home.