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Waiting for the Barbarians

Coetzee, J. M.

19,814 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0140283358 / ISBN 13: 9780140283358
Published by Penguin Books, New York, 1999
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Gunn Books (Wooster, OH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

SIGNED by Coetzee on the title page. A later printing, part of Penguin's Great Books of the 20th Century. Trade paperback binding is clean, tight, and square. The interior is clean. The text is clean and unmarked. A fine copy with the Nobel Laureate's elusive signature on what many people consider to be his masterwork. Bookseller Inventory # 003644

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Waiting for the Barbarians

Publisher: Penguin Books, New York

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title


A modern classic by Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee. His latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018. 

Waiting for the Barbarians centers on the crisis of the conscience 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." After he witnesses the cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war, he reconsiders his role in the regime and carries out a quixotic act of rebellion.

Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Bridge of Spies), Ciro Guerra, and producer Michael Fitzgerald are teaming up to to bring J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians to the big screen.

From the Inside Flap:

Set in an isolated outpost on the edge of a great Empire, WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS is a startling allegory of the war between oppressor and oppressed. The Magistrate, the novel's fascinating narrator, has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of the frontier settlement, dabbling in antiquarianism, and ignoring constant reports of a threat from the "barbarians" who inhabit the uncharted deserts beyond the village. But when military personnel arrive with captured barbarians, he becomes witness to a cruel and unjust defense of the Empire. Outraged and, with military command controlling his village, powerless to prevent the persecution of the barbarians, he finds himself involved in an affair with one of the victims, a girl crippled, blinded, and orphaned by the torturers. Their relationship, intimate but devoid of true understanding, finally pushes him to a quixotic act of rebellion that brands him an enemy of the state. Rendered in an austere but richly suggestive prose, Coetzee's novel addresses universal political and philosophical issues of power and justice.

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