9780099461920

Elizabeth Costello

Coetzee, J M

ISBN 10: 0099461927 / 0-09-946192-7
ISBN 13: 9780099461920
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:

Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded.

Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers' conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience.

She has made her life's work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations.


Review:
For Australian writer JM Coetzee, winner of two Booker Prizes and the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, the world of receiving literary awards and giving speeches must be such a commonplace that he has put the circuit at the centre of his book, Elizabeth Costello. As the work opens, the eponymous Elizabeth, a fictional novelist, is in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, to receive the Stowe Award. For her speech at the Williamstown's Altona College she chooses the tired topic, "What Is Realism?" and quickly loses her audience in her unfocused discussion of Kafka. From there, readers follow her to a cruise ship where she is virtually imprisoned as a celebrity lecturer to the ship's guests. Next, she is off to Appleton College where she delivers the annual Gates Lecture. Later, she will even attend a graduation speech.

Coetzee has made this project difficult for himself. Occasional writing--writing that includes graduation speeches, acceptance speeches, or even academic lectures--is a less than auspicious form around which to build a long work of fiction. A powerful central character engaged in a challenging stage of life might sustain such a work. Yet, at the start, Coetzee declares that Elizabeth is "old and tired", and her best book, The House on Eccles Street is long in her past. Elizabeth Costello lacks a progressive plot and offers little development over the course of each new performance at the lectern. Readers are given Elizabeth fully formed with only brief glimpses of her past sexual dalliances and literary efforts.

In the end, Elizabeth Costello seems undecided about its own direction. When Elizabeth is brought to a final reckoning at the gates of the afterlife, she begins to suspect that she is actually in hell, "or at least purgatory: a purgatory of clichés". Perhaps Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, which can be read as an extended critique of clichéd writing, is a portrait of this purgatory. While some readers may find Coetzee's philosophical prose sustenance enough on the journey, some will turn back at the gate. --Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com

Review

Review:
"One of Coetzee's best...simply burns with creative passion" (D. J. Taylor Independent)

"An important book... Extraordinary" ( Independent on Sunday)

"Probably the best book on the [Booker] longlist, the one that will last... Every word counts. Every sentence lives" ( Evening Standard)

"The best novel I've read this year, a book so bold and so clever that one wants to call it something other than a novel, to take it out of that commonplace genre" (Frank Kermode Times Literary Supplement)

"A readable and engaging book. Demanding, playful, provocative...hugely enlightening and rewarding" ( Sunday Times)

Review

 

Elizabeth Costello: Search Results

1.
Elizabeth Costello (Paperback) (ISBN: 9780099461920)
Coetzee, J M
ISBN 10: 0099461927
ISBN 13: 9780099461920
Bookseller: The Book Depository (Gloucester, UK, United Kingdom)
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Book Description: VINTAGE, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 129 mm. Brand New Book. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience. She has made her life s work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780099461920

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Elizabeth Costello (Paperback) (ISBN: 9780099461920)
Coetzee, J M
ISBN 10: 0099461927
ISBN 13: 9780099461920
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Book Description: VINTAGE, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 129 mm. Brand New Book. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience. She has made her life s work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780099461920

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Elizabeth Costello (Paperback) (ISBN: 0099461927 / 0-09-946192-7)
Coetzee, J M
ISBN 10: 0099461927
ISBN 13: 9780099461920
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Book Description: 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 15mm. Paperback. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining fun.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 240 pages. 0.175. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099461920

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Coetzee, J M
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Book Description: Vintage 2004-09-02, 2004. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-BER-00016839

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Coetzee, J M
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Book Description: Book Condition: New. Publisher/Verlag: Random House UK | A humane, umcompromising and moral novel which offers a profound and delicate vision of literary celebrity, artistry and the private life of the mind. | Format: Paperback | Language/Sprache: english | 171 gr | 240 pp. Bookseller Inventory # K9780099461920

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Coetzee, J M
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Book Description: Vintage Book / Random House. Book Condition: New. 2004. New Ed. Paperback. . . . . . Over 350,000 customers served online!. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099461920

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Coetzee, J M
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Book Description: 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. This brand new copy of Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee is waiting for you in our UK warehouse. If you order before 1pm on a working day, we'll get it in today's post. Otherwise we'll post it on the next working day. Simple no nonsense service from Wordery. UK delivery is within 3 or 4 working days. International delivery varies by country. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099461920

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