DISGRACE by J.M. COETZEE (hier online bestellen)
Set in post-apartheid South Africa, J. M. Coetzee's searing novel tells the story of David Lurie, a twice
divorced, 52-year-old professor of communications and Romantic Poetry at Cape Technical University. Lurie
believes he has created a comfortable, if somewhat passionless, life for himself. He lives within his
financial and emotional means. Though his position at the university has been reduced, he teaches his
classes dutifully; and while age has diminished his attractiveness, weekly visits to a prostitute satisfy
his sexual needs. He considers himself happy. But when Lurie seduces one of his students, he sets in motion
a chain of events that will shatter his complacency and leave him utterly disgraced.
Lurie pursues his relationship with the young Melanie - ignoring, on one occasion, her wish not to have sex.
When Melanie and her father lodge a complaint against him, Lurie is brought before an academic committee
where he admits he is guilty of all the charges but refuses to express any repentance for his acts.
In the furor of the scandal, threatened by Melanie's boyfriend, ridiculed by his
ex-wife, Lurie is forced to resign and flees Cape Town for his daughter Lucy's smallholding in the country.
There he struggles to rekindle his relationship with Lucy and to understand the changing relations of
blacks and whites in the new South Africa. But when three black strangers appear at their house asking
to make a phone call, a harrowing afternoon of violence follows which leaves both of them badly shaken
and further estranged from one another. After a brief return to Cape Town, where Lurie discovers his
home has also been vandalized, he decides to stay on with his daughter, who is pregnant with the child of
one of her attackers. Now thoroughly humiliated, Lurie devotes himself to volunteering at the animal
clinic, where he helps put down diseased and unwanted dogs. It is here, Coetzee seems to suggest, that
Lurie gains a redeeming sense of compassion absent from his life up to this point.
Extract from book:
There are days when he does not know what to do with himself.
He spends more time in the university library, reading all he can find on the wider Byron circle, adding to notes that already fill two fat files. He enjoys the late-afternoon quiet of the reading room, enjoys the walk home afterwards: the brisk winter air, the damp, gleaming streets.
He is returning home one Friday evening, taking the long route through the old college gardens, when he notices one of his students on the path ahead of him. Her name is Melanie Isaacs, from his Romantics course. Not the best student but not the worst either: clever enough, but unengaged.
She is dawdling; he soon catches up with her. 'Hello,' he says.
She smiles back, bobbing her head, her smile sly rather than shy. She is small and thin, with close-cropped black hair, wide, almost Chinese cheekbones, large, dark eyes. Her outfits are always striking. Today she wears a maroon miniskirt with a mustard-coloured sweater and black tights; the gold baubles on her belt match the gold balls of her earrings.
He is mildly smitten with her. It is no great matter: barely a term passes when he does not fall for one or other of his charges. Cape Town: a city prodigal of beauty, of beauties.
Does she know he has an eye on her? Probably. Women are sensitive to it, to the weight of the desiring gaze.
It has been raining; from the pathside runnels comes the soft rush of water.
'My favourite season, my favourite time of day,' he remarks. 'Do you live around here?'
'Across the line. I share a flat.'
'Is Cape Town your home?'
'No, I grew up in George.'
'I live just nearby. Can I invite you in for a drink?'
A pause, cautious. 'OK. But I have to be back by seven-thirty.'
From the gardens they pass into the quiet residential pocket where he has lived for the past twelve years, first with Rosalind, then, after the divorce, alone.
About the author:
John Maxwell Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 9 February 1940, the elder of two children.
Coetzee received his primary schooling in Cape Town and in the nearby town of Worcester. For his secondary
education he attended a school in Cape Town run by a Catholic order, the Marist Brothers. He matriculated in
1956. Coetzee entered the University of Cape Town in 1957, and in 1960 and 1961 graduated successively with
honours degrees in English and mathematics. He spent the years 1962-65 in England. In 1963 he married Philippa Jubber
(1939-1991). They had two children, Nicolas (1966-1989) and Gisela (b.1968).
In 1965 Coetzee entered the graduate school of the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1968 graduated with a
PhD in English, linguistics, and Germanic languages. His doctoral dissertation was on the early fiction of
Samuel Beckett. For three years (1968-71) Coetzee was assistant professor of English at the State University
of New York in Buffalo. After an application for permanent residence in the United States was denied, he
returned to South Africa. From 1972 until 2000 he held a series of positions at the University of Cape Town,
the last of them as Distinguished Professor of Literature. Between 1984 and 2003 he also taught frequently in
the United States: at the State University of New York, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Stanford
University, and the University of Chicago, where for six years he was a member of the Committee on Social
In 2002 Coetzee emigrated to Australia. He lives with his partner Dorothy Driver in Adelaide, South Australia,
where he holds an honorary position at the University of Adelaide.
DISGRACE by J.M. COETZEE
Broschiert - 219 Seiten - Vintage
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2000
Preis: € 11,95
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