Thursday, June 26, 2008
56. "Disgrace" - J.M. Coetzee
Ha-ha-ha... this shall be fun. First, Mr. Coetzee seems to "claim to be considered one of the best novelists alive" (The Sunday Times). Muah-ha-ha. Second, Mr. Coetzee wrote a book about a professor banging a student, which, as one of my own professors said during "Introduction to Prose," is one of the most overrated, autobiographical, boring subjects imaginable, yet is attempted by nearly every M.F.A. graduate student and/or English prof.
And he didn't write it well.
Disgrace is not about a man's fall. It's about a self-indulgent, pseudo-intellectual (autobiographical here? I shan't guess) professor who makes the mistake of keeping his sex and his scores separate. He screws the student, then expects her to make up a test. Rather than apologize or grovel, he walks away from his job.
Based in South Africa, there are plenty of gender and racial equality issues that have the potential for thoughtful analysis. I couldn't find it with my lenses in and a magnifying glass. If anything, I became more annoyed with the creator of characters who are so banal and misguided that I truly wondered where he lived. I have read good literature about the troubles in South Africa. Coetzee overreached and tried to write good literature about human beings, and that's where he failed.
.75 out of 5.0 Aggravations.
Posted by Kristin Dodge at 7:15 PM