1st American Edition/1st Printing. SIGNED by author on title page (signature only). Author recipient of Nobel Prize. $21.95 price present on DJ flap. Also includes laid-in the original 2003 review from New York Times Book Review. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 009252
Synopsis: The life of aging Australian novelist Elizabeth Costello is revealed through a series of eight formal addresses that include an award-acceptance speech at a New England liberal arts college, a lecture on evil in Amsterdam, and a sexually charged reading by poet Robert Duncan. 50,000 first printing.
Review: For South African writer J.M. 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 center of his book, Elizabeth Costello. As the work opens, in fact, 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
Title: Elizabeth Costello (SIGNED)
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition
Book Description Viking, New York, 2003. Hard Cover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First American Edition. Remainder mark; 233pp. A novel from the Nobel-Prize winning author. Signed by the author on a bookplate attached to the half-title page. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 5000253
Book Description Viking, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Fine in Fine Dust Jacket. Hardcover. First American Edition. Signed by the author. Published in the same year Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for literature. This is an unusual book in many respects: Coetzee's alter ego is a woman, and through the device of formal speeches, he gives himself a platform to reflect on the novel in Africa, race relations, wildlife, and environmental issues; and on evil in Amsterdam and the sexual impulses of the American poet Robert Duncan. He does this while recounting Costello's life as a woman and mother. Fine in blue cloth backed paper covered boards with white title to spine. In fine blue illustrated dust jacket with orange title to spine. 233 pages. LIT/052511. Seller Inventory # 24908
Book Description Viking, New York, 2005. Hardcover. First U.S. edition. Hardcover. First U.S. edition. Fine in fine dust jacket. A tight, unread copy. By the Nobel Prize winner who now lives in Australia. Signed by the author on the title page. Seller Inventory # 24369
Book Description Viking Press, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. First Printing, signed by Coetzee on title page. 8vo:,230,pp. Publisher's French blue faux cloth spine lettered in white, black paper-covered boards with author's monogram in blind to upper board, pictorial dust jacket priced $21.95. As New (and probably unread), in Fine jacket without flaw. Peerless. Coetzee's ninth novel, published in the same year he won the Nobel Prize for literature. "Of the eight 'lessons' and postscript which make up the novel, seven had previously appeared in print from 1997-2002. Only 'Lesson 7: Eros' and 'Lesson 8: At the Gate' appear for the first time. A number of these had also emerged earlier as lectures given by Coetzee . . . [so] it is likely that he had no overall plan in mind for Elizabeth Costello and, indeed, had to rework a number of the individual texts to make them compatible for simultaneous publication. It is also important to note that Elizabeth Costello's appearances in Coetzee's work extend outside her eponymous role in the book: to date she has also appeared in the 2004 short story "As a Woman Grows Older" and as the interloping author of Slow Man in 2005. As such, the final version of the text can be profitably considered as a collage of interrelated lectures and short stories rather than a unified novel." (Literary Encyclopedia) While, on its surface, this collage portrays a woman's life as mother, sister, lover, and writer, the novel is also a meditation on the nature of storytelling. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. Seller Inventory # BB1347
Book Description Viking, NY, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Included. 1st Edition. First US edition, first prnt. Signed by Coetzee on the title page. Unread copy in Fine condition in a Fine dustjacket with a Durafold mylar cover. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 6065
Book Description Viking Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. F/F/S. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 001589
Book Description Viking Penguin, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. A handsome first (stated) American edition/first printing in unread Fine condition in alike dustjacket, SIGNED by author and Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee on the title page; This ingenious novel is structured around a collection of essays, all but two previously published, embedded within the story of aging Australian novelist Elizabeth Costello. Costello (who first appeared in Coetzee's 1999 volume "The Lives of Animals") gives her longest and most passionate speech in defense of animal rights, one of eight "lessons" the reader receives on what it means to be human First Edition; First Printing; Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 15143