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A divorced, middle-aged English professor finds himself increasingly unable to resist affairs with his female students. When discovered by the college authorities, he is expected to apologise and repent in an effort to save his job, but he refuses to become a scapegoat in what he see as as a show trial designed to reinforce a stringent political correctness. He preempts the authorities and leaves his job, and the city, to spend time with his grown-up lesbian daughter on her remote farm. Things between them are strained - ...

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Nov 27, 2019

The Gray Areas Of Life

"Disgrace" is an eloquent book about changing and aging, told with thought and with understatement. It ties together two seemingly unrelated stories: the first dealing with the professional and libidinous difficulties of David Lurie, a 52 year old professor of English, the second dealing with the change in South African Society with the end of apartheid.

The story of David Lurie involves his liason with a prostitute, his subsequent seduction of a young student, and his consequent loss of his academic position.

The story of South Africa involves Lurie's daughter who is attempting to establish a life for herself in the rural areas of South Africa and who is brutally raped while her father is visiting her.

The most remarkable aspect of the book is its ability to present volatile issues and persons with a minimum of moralization and criticism. We learn to understand something of David Lurie and of South Africa and to control our predisposition to rush to instant, nonmeasured judgment.

Society and individuals both change and age for reasons internal to themselves. Some things must be learned and understood through time.

I think this is what this difficult book is about and it is beautifully conveyed.

jaime malamud

Jun 18, 2009

Superb fiction, wonderfully written

Coetzee is at the top of English fiction writing today. This a book about losing our path amidst the ruthlessness of class and racial tensions after apartheid. It is gripping yet subtly laid out, the plot depicts the inability of ordinary morality in a new conflicted and resentful world. Flesh tearing, this book is must for those caught up in the riddles of multi-racial communities where moral tenets have yet found a proper place. A must for those who are begining to realize our impotence to overcome social splits and are amenable to spend a sleepless night in fear and wondering....


Dec 16, 2008

Realistic Story Line

The synopsis for this book does a good job of outlining the story. This novel won the 1999 Booker Prize and that is why I chose to read it. The narrator of the story is Professor David Lurie, ousted from his teaching position for having an affair with a student. He goes to live briefly with his daughter on her farm in South Africa. When they are robbed and terrorized, he cannot convince her to leave the farm for a safer location. This book seems to have a theme of making choices despite the consequences. What I liked about the book was the realism of the character and the story. The ending is not a neat little package and the characters were not particularly likeable, nor their motives understandable. It is well-written and compelling, leaving you thinking about the book long after you have finished reading it.


Jul 19, 2007

I did not think this book was particularly well written, though the story does a good job of illustrating how South Africa is still very tribal. If you do not have the power, in that you can physically retaliate or socially retaliate, people will look you in the eye and take your stuff.

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