What it's all about...

The purpose of this blog is simple: Reading

My friends and me used to get immense joy from reading great books, sharing them, and maybe discussing them over a few beers. We no longer live in close proximity and for most of us free time comes at a premium.

This year, I have made it a personal goal of mine to turn off the TV and read more. I got through 3 books pretty quickly and realized that I wanted "that old thing back" - that community of being able to share these great books with others, so the blog was born.

If you see a book review and the book sounds interesting and you want to purchase the book, you can do so by directly linking to Amazon.com through a text link on the book title. I will be donating all proceeds (probably .15 this year) to Reading Is Fundamental (
http://www.rif.org/).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Disgrace

Disgrace (Penguin Essential Editions)
By J.M. Coetzee
Book Reporter: Complaint Department

Disgrace reads easily, the prose being straight forward and easy to digest. Yet, the meaning behind the words Coetzee chooses, the way he strings together his ideas and his intentions, is complex and powerful. Disgrace centers around an aging professor who's most recent affair with a very young student has left him without his career, his few friends and his home. He retreats to his daughter's farm where he attempts to re-connect with her, hoping to, maybe, salvage the only thing he has left in his life.

The professor is snobbish, hopelessly stuck in a severe mid-life crisis, and stubbornly insistent on living life the way he wants to, by his own set of rules, no matter how ill-advised his friends and family may feel that choice is. His life is joyless, bereft of any passion and one gets the impression that this is a sullen man who never smiles, never laughs. He is, to put it mildly, very unlikeable.

When he and his daughter are brutally attacked by several men, the consequences that follow and the choices that are made are both frustrating and, sadly, unavoidable in the post-Apartheid South Africa where the story is set. There are several themes that thread themselves through the novel: one's place in the world, the relationships between humanity and the animal world, the political environment the characters live in, and (obviously) disgrace, shame and salvation (or the lack of it). It forces one to reexamine what it means to be alive, what it means to be human.

Bottom Line: Disgrace is both an easy read and a difficult one. It's tone is dark and it's message deep and yet, disarmingly simple. The characters make choices that are maddening: I often found myself wishing that they would fight back more, stand up for themselves. But this is the triumph of the book, no easy way out, no choice but to move forward and accept defeat. Coetzee is universally regarded as one of the world's most powerful writers and with Disgrace it's easy to see why.

Recommendation: STRONG READ

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today..........................

Anonymous said...

原來這世上能跟你共同領略一個笑話的人竟如此難得........................................