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9780143116929

Waiting for the Barbarians: A Novel (Penguin Ink) (The Penguin Ink Series)

Coetzee, J. M.

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A modern classic, this early novel by Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee centers on the crisis of conscience and morality of the Magistrate-a loyal servant of the Empire working in a tiny frontier town, doing his best to ignore an inevitable war with the "barbarians."

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For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy with the victims and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison, branded as an enemy of the state. Waiting for the Barbarians is an allegory of oppressor and oppressed. Not just a man living through a crisis of conscience in an obscure place in remote times, the Magistrate is an analogue of all men living in complicity with regimes that ignore justice and decency.

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"I have known few authors who can evoke such a wilderness in the heart of man. He is an artist of a weight and depth that put him beyond ordinary comparisons...Coetzee knows the elusive terror of Kafka." -- Sunday Times

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