I am back after a short, Kutti ( small in mallu) break. It wasn’t a break, and i had no say in the break. I was on a hectic trip, which was hectic and kick-ass. It was kick-ass, bcoz my ass was figuratively getting kicked, if not quite literally. Sorry, for the unparliamentarily usage of certain cuss words, but my trip would have been confrontational for the most staunch parliamentarians of any era.
And my ass-kicking aint over yet. I have to make a PP presentation, which is a tad more meaningful per se , to the above mentioned cuss word. BTW, i had a round trip of the world, From Bahrain-Dubai-Doha-Istanbul-back to Bahrain, if you call this round the world, though it was nothing short of a world trip by its sheer displeasure.
Those of you who have read J.M Coetzee may ignore this, but if you haven’t , then you should sprint, and grab it at the available shortest moment of time. Go grab a book by this writer and though i wont say that your life would be changed for ever, it certainly would make a lasting impression on you.
If i have frightened you by mentioning Nobel and Booker prizes, then i must say that he is one of the easiest to read writers; by Salman Rushdie Standards, but i would say he falls even below in the readability factor, even easier than V.S Naipaul to show comparisons. The book has subtle philosophical jaunts, that are highly tangible and the narrative has a thriller like gripping quality. Said that, i would add that it would help, if one stops and shows some respect to the philosophical contend and not merely read like any thriller.
The first thing i noticed about the book was the narration, which throughout the book was in the present-tense, as if the story is unfolding at the very moment that the reader is reading. The plot is unique. Its about a professor, David Lurie, who is twice divorced: seduces one of his students. And doesn’t do much to protects himself from its consequences. The girl, though gives in willingly, later makes a racket owing to her own personal troubles, and the Professor who is in his 50s and has a 25 year old daughter, is disgraced. The college forms an inquiry committee, but the professor accepts all the charges without any opposition, is dismissed and leaves the city. He drops in at his daughters farm and starts living with her.
An extract is added below to give an example of subtle philosophies the book is filled of.:
He continues to teach because it provides him with a livelihood; also because it teaches him humility, brings it home to him who he is in the world. The irony does not escape him: that the one who comes to teach learns the keenest lessons, while those who come to learn nothing. It is a feature of his profession on which he does not remark to Soraya. He doubts there is an irony to match it in hers.
Suraya is a prostitute that he was frequenting, and her leaving the town and refusing to meet him further leads him towards the main event of the story, the instance when he seduces his student, Melanie Isaac.
He starts helping her in her farm and starts to get to his usual life, comes to harmonizing terms with his newly attained life. But the harmony and peace lasts for a short time and the farm and their house is attacked by a gang of 3 raucous attackers, who ransack the place, pour spirit over David and sets him on fire. His daughter Lucy is raped. Professor escapes with burns and his daughter is traumatized.
The later part of the story is that of coming to terms with a disgraced life and the trauma of violence, the transfer of power the country is going through, post- apartheid, and the after effects, leading to the differences in the lives of South African Junta. The story is also about the change in relationships; trauma and violence that leads to it and the surviving instincts of humans. The evident philosophy and inner profundity of the novel is of Disgrace, redemption, extreme alternations of relations in tensions , salvation and ruin.
NOTE: I didn’t yawn even once, and on the contrary, couldn’t keep the novel aside, other than to eat, sleep, and few other things not worth mentioning.
I don’t know why my interest in literature has accrued certain deviations oflate, and it seems to be variable and parabolic towards terrorism, politics and political vandalism; and converse survival resists of the poor, and also sadly benevolent , but i undoubtedly enjoyed this book. I vastly vouch for Mr. Coetzee, though i have a speck of bias towards Naipaul. It May be bcoz i havet yet read the best of Coetzee, which i very well plan to, in immediate future.
J.M.Coetzee has inched into my favourite writers league, the league in which Naipaul and Rushdie dwell , and i look forward to more of his books, especially Life & Times of Michael K.
I highly recommend this book and the writer.Alas, sadly the book had only 210 (roughly) pages which got turned in much shorter time, much too shorter for a $ 12.8 book.