An oddly constructed novel: the page is divided (eventually) into three, with the first, top part, devoted to an essay, and the other two to the narrative(s). The narratives are silly, with stereotypical stock characters and a uninteresting plot. Very few of the essays are interesting, but they are the best part of the book; most are like blog posts. Awful book.
Coetzee is sincere in this book and that's refreshing in this dyin age. A very interesting thinker. His thoughts on quietism are comforting and provide company in a strange atomized way, his deliberate compassion makes him relatable. Beyond compare, I would agree with author226's comments (and thanks for providing the run-down).
Not the common type of book!
Two parallel lines through it: 1. opinions on different matters, such as politics, authors, photographers, children, ageing, water, fire and endless other ones… 2. The acquaintance with a young pretty lady who ...types the old writer’s manuscript. The opinions are at times lengthy compared to what goes on with the lives of the characters but that somehow raises the tension and interest to move through the pages.
As for the storytelling: The STRENGTH of the word is magnificent! And somehow there is the sound of a typewriter (though the computer is what is really used to type the pages) – distant – always existent when reading line upon line… Maybe because of the young woman the writer hires to type his manuscript, maybe because each word sounds so strong it almost hits the paper with the metal fingers of the typing machine…
Definitely a unique signature!
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