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In Some Sense True

Tim Parks: Coetzee

21 January 2016
The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy 
by J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz.
Harvill Secker, 198 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 84655 888 7
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J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time 
by David Attwell.
Oxford, 272 pp., £19.99, September 2015, 978 0 19 874633 1
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... others? Are his novels ‘in some sense true’? Do they mainly ‘serve [his] own interests’? And if so, in what way? There could be no better place to look for answers to these questions than in DavidAttwell’s J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing. Attwell is an ex-student of Coetzee’s who has already written in defence of his work in J.M. Coetzee: South Africa and the Politics of Writing. He ...

Stony Ground

Peter D. McDonald: J.M. Coetzee

20 October 2005
J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading: Literature in the Event 
by Derek Attridge.
Chicago, 225 pp., £13.50, May 2005, 0 226 03117 9
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Slow Man 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 265 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 436 20611 0
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... tense autobiographies, for instance, or Elizabeth Costello’s lectures? – but it has implications for all the labels used in literary criticism. Take the designation ‘late Modernist’, which DavidAttwell, one of Coetzee’s most astute early champions, applied to his fiction in the 1990s. Though Attridge prefers this term to the even more fraught ‘postmodernist’, another favourite among ...

Like a Dog

Elizabeth Lowry: J.M. Coetzee

14 October 1999
Disgrace 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 220 pp., £14.99, July 1999, 0 436 20489 4
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The Lives of Animals 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Princeton, 127 pp., £12.50, May 1999, 0 691 00443 9
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... The personal life is dead,’ Pasternak wrote in Doctor Zhivago – ‘history has killed it.’ In J.M. Coetzee’s new novel, Disgrace, which is set in a violent post-apartheid South Africa, David Lurie, a Cape Town academic, reaches a similar conclusion when his daughter Lucy is gang-raped by three black men at her isolated homestead in the Eastern Cape. ‘But why did they hate me so ...

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