Mrs. Cullen, the narrator in this novel, is an elderly white woman dying of cancer in a country afflicted with its own mortal sickness.
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J. M. Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1940. The author of some fifteen novels and winner of numerous awards, Coetzee is the first author to have been awarded the Booker Prize twice: for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and for Disgrace in 1999. In 2003 he was awared the Nobel Prize in Literature. He lives in Australia.From Library Journal:
This is the South African novelist's most direct indictment of apartheid yet. It takes the form of a letter-diary from Mrs. Curren, a former classics professor dying of cancer, to her daughter in America. She details a series of strange events that turn her protected middle-class life upside down. A homeless alcoholic appears at her door, eventually becoming her companion and confessor. Her liberal sentiments and her very humanity are tested as she experiences directly the horrors of apartheid. She comes to recognize South Africa as a country in which the rigidity of both sides has led to barbarism and to acknowledge her complicity in upholding the system. Less allegorical than Coetzee's previous novels, this is still richly metaphoric. A brilliant, chilling look at the spiritual costs of apartheid. Recom mended.
- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
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