September 25, 2009 |
Director Steve Jacobs and his screenwriter wife Anna-Maria Monticelli's respectful -- and respectable -- adaptation of J.M. Coetzee's Booker Prize-winning 1999 novel, "Disgrace," proves a double-edged sword. Although the pair has obviously taken pains to stay true to the author's structure, tone and purpose, their fidelity results in a film that's absorbing but often bloodless and, frankly, depressing. There's no arguing, however, that Jacobs and Monticelli have approached their challenging source material with a clear and committed cinematic vision.
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.
July 15, 2007 |
WHEN J.M. Coetzee received the Nobel Prize in 2003, the citation from the Swedish Academy dwelt primarily on his career as a novelist. That made perfect sense. Although the author had produced a large body of memoir, criticism and polemical prose, it was his pitiless fiction that made the biggest impact, from the quasi-allegory of "Waiting for the Barbarians" to the serial traumas of "Disgrace." These are major books, despite their slender heft and endless modulations of disgust.
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.
November 2, 2003 |
Elizabeth COSTELLO is a quite famous Australian novelist -- her best known work is a feminist reinterpretation of James Joyce's Mrs. Bloom -- now getting on in life and more accustomed to traveling, lecturing and receiving prizes than to writing new novels. She is about to visit America, escorted by her son, to pick up quite a grand award, given by Altona College.
October 4, 2003 |
There had been rumors that this year's Nobel Prize for literature would go to a North or South American, to Philip Roth or Mario Vargas Llosa but, as usual, the Swedish Academy confounded commentators, as it likes to do. For once, the unexpected choice is also a very good one. J.M. Coetzee is the first South African to win the prize since Nadine Gordimer in 1991. That, in a sense, is all you need to know. Coetzee is the novelist of the new South Africa.