***THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS… SO YEA***
What’s It About: After a sex scandal with a student (I call it rape– Others, from what I understand, don’t), a resigned university professor, David Lurie, lives temporarily with his farmer-lesbian-vegetarian-fat daughter, Lucy, where David also volunteers at an animal shelter. Her house is violently broken into and Lucy is raped. The after-effects of the violence forces David Lurie to confront the racial, sexual, and moral status of society, to the misfortune of several unfortunate dogs.
Why? Nobel Prize sticker on the cover, plus recommendations from friends.
Thoughts: I’m still trying to figure this one out and I have no expectations of ever really “getting” it. I don’t really know why Lucy does not take action against her perpetrators. Neither does David, which seems to be the central mystery of this whole thing. Also, the depressing-as-all-hell ending? So confused..
The closest I’ve gotten to enlightenment was an essay called “Death and JM Coetzee’s Disgrace” by Alice Brittan. Brittan describes how the Ancient Greek concept of “grace” was the human ability to project oneself into another’s life and experiences. This is also an ability that Coetzee says was destroyed by apartheid and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It’s also the ability that David Lurie does not have in regards to his daughter and assailants.
And the dogs he kills but its okay because he does it with love? Even though maybe, just maybe, he coulda taken that last one home with him? No? Ish? alas.
Confusion notwithstanding, I’d encourage everyone to read this book. Even if you don’t “get” it (and if you do, please enlighten me) it’s still incredibly well-written and quite profound.