I’ve never been a fan of literary novels, especially those longwinded, meandering amalgams of overly flowery prose and bore you to tears characters. They usually go nowhere and seem to exist only for the purpose of giving their writers a platform to show off their command of the language. Once in a while, however, a gem comes along that blends together the myriad of intangible factors that when weaved together build a tapestry that becomes a masterpiece. Disgrace is such a novel.
J. M. Coetzee, twice winner of the prestigious Booker Prize and 2003 Nobel laureate for literature, shows himself at the height of his powers with this wonderful, flawlessly written novel. It is a true masterpiece of pacing, characterization, prose, style, and theme. This novel is everything a literary work should be. Although it is not a thriller, strangely enough it reads like one. From the very first page I was sucked in and was not able to put it down until I turned the last page.
Life can be terribly unfair at times. In the late sixties, early seventies Coetzee taught as an assistant professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Unbelievably his application for permanent residence in the United States was denied. It appears that holding a PhD in English, linguistics, and Germanic languages wasn’t enough for him to qualify. I’d like to meet the genius that made that decision. Perhaps had he had some connection to extremist terrorist groups he would have had better luck. Oh well.
I highly recommend this wonderful novel, and anything else J. M. Coetzee has written. He is one of the best writers of our time and if you haven’t yet read him, you’re in for a treat.