Monday, August 03, 2009

Disgrace (J.M. Coetzee)

David Lurie is a twice-divorced University professor at the University of Cape Town. At the start of the book, we discover that he is visiting a prostitute, Soraya on a weekly basis. When he sees her, out shopping with her sons, however, they go off each other, and a small time passes before he starts up again, this time with one of his pretty young students, Melanie. He embarks on this affair selfishly, and one day, a complaint is filed against him by the girl and her father. The University offer him the chance to keep his job if he repents, but Lurie believes himself above such a "disgrace", and, rejecting their offer, goes to live with his daughter. As he begins to find a routine with her, working at the local animal clinic and helping her with farming, a terrible event occurs: two grown men and a boy rob them, strike David, and rape Lucy. If he wasn't disgraced before, he most certainly is now.

Coetzee's post-apartheid literature is rife with political allegory and allusions to Bryon's texts. The characters are all pretty reprehensible in their own ways, epitomized in the protagonist David, who comes across as a selfish narcissist with some very bizarre opinions on women. He is aging, losing his appeal to the opposite sex, and looks for some quick fixes to this problem, but in doing so just gets himself into more trouble. There are tonnes of relationships to scrutinize in the novel: David and Lucy, Lucy and Petrus, David and Bev, David and Melanie, etc, but none of them interested me, and each character's decision-making is questionable at best. It's a rich novel, but not to my personal taste at all.

8 comments:

Nigel said...

Hey Emma, have you heard about the TSR Football Meet? It's next Friday (14th August). Here's the thread about it: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?p=20402008#post20402008
I'm going to be there. If you can make it it'd be awesome. The plan is to meet up in the afternoon at Regents Park I think, play some football for a bit, then go to a pub in the evening. Then some of us are going to stay over at Jangrafess' house (myself included) - the people with long journeys. There was one last Monday and it sounded like a really good day (you can read some peoples' reports in that thread). If you're working, but can make it in the evening, that'd be cool too. I'm going on holiday so I probably won't be able to answer any questions but if you post in that thread, people will be more than happy to help.

And you won't be the only girl, there should be 3 or 4 others I think, as well as a couple of lads who won't want to play, so you can just watch if you like.

Emma said...

Oh wow, that sounds so good! If I don't have any plans (I have a horrible suspicion I might though), I will try to make it for the evening.

Emma said...

And have a good holiday! x

Emma said...

Bugger it, we've got a family meal that Friday evening. Gutted. :( Was well up for it!

Nigel said...

Awww.... Never mind... I think there's going to be another one before the end of the holidays. I'll give you a heads up again if it's looking likely!

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