Short Book Review: Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

SBR: An acclaimed book by an acclaimed author that I can’t make up my mind about. Disgrace is about an aging professor who sexually exploits a young student, and is written from his point of view. It is no Lolita, but his point of view is also easy to succumb to. This theme of violence against women is repeated in the story, but I don’t know to what purpose. Women’s voices are eerily missing, even when in the second case it seems like the woman is exercising some kind of agency. Is it a way to draw attention to the issue? Or is it the insensitivity of the privileged, male narration? I have no clue. There is politics in the book, racial dynamics, animal rights and perhaps some philosophy – even if not neat – to bind it all together. I don’t see it though. If the central character is supposed to find his redemption in his utter and final disgrace, that’s utterly distasteful to me. It would be fine if I felt that the book is open to interpretation. But somehow I get a feeling that the author is making a very specific point. But God knows what that is though.
To read or not to read: Not based on how I felt about the book. But the reviews are raving, so perhaps you want to read and decide for yourself.

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