Wednesday, January 30, 2008

12. "Slow Man" - J.M. Coetzee


An Australian photographer/photo biographer gets into an accident, his bicycle versus a truck. Paul Rayment loses most of his leg and needs help at home as he rehabilitates.

His nurse is so kind that he, of course, falls in a strange dependent love with her, which is not accepted.

Then it gets weird.

A character from a former Coetzee novel, Elizabeth Costello, shows up at Paul's door. She knows his thoughts, his dreams, and his desires. She tries to manipulate his future via long-winded monologues. Toward the end, as she coughs from pneumonia, she still does not run out of nonsense.

If this had been a book about loss - of the leg, of movement, of love, of youth - I'd like it. In fact, I liked the first 40 pages. But this Costello character took this book into crazy territory.

Perhaps if I had read Elizabeth Costello I would understand the joke or the moral. My hunch is that this is written without a point purposely, but it proves that not everyone can be Kafka.

1.5 out of 5.0 Bootlegs.

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