The rather unpleasant combination of a fourteen hour work day today and a poor night's sleep last night has rendered me more or less inarticulate this evening, so you will have to excuse me if I sound a bit spaced-out. I mean, it was a good day (after all, I enjoyed my classes and the ailing loved one for whom I have been caring seems to be on the mend), but it has also been the culmination of an emotionally- and financially-draining week, so tonight's fatigue is not one a glass of soda or a cup of tea (I'm not a coffee person) could fix. Accordingly, this post will have to be yet another brief entry taking the place of the much longer piece I would prefer to write. But que sera, sera, I suppose.
Despite my obligation-crammed schedule, however, I did manage to read a pair of articles on Coetzee culled from the pages of The London Times this evening. The first, Ranti Williams's review of Disgrace, is fairly consistent with much of the initial non-South African commentary on Coetzee's novel, highlighting as it does David Lurie's transformation in the aftermath of his daughter's rape while only cursorily addressing the racial issues so prevalent in the often-negative assessments of the author's countrymen. I do appreciate Williams's rather prescient reading of sexuality in the novel as a key to understanding David Lurie's existentially dissonant position in the book, an interpretive angle largely glossed over by other reviewers and only tangentially referred to in most recent critical studies. Despite a handful of forgivable misreadings (David Lurie is not, as Williams suggests, a professor at the University of Cape Town, but rather an instructor at the fictive Cape Technical University, for instance), Williams proves to be an uncommonly observant reader, capably situating Coetzee's book within the larger context of the author's oeuvre while also closely analyzing the text and discussing the unique qualities that mark Disgrace as the beginning of a new phase in the Nobel laureate's career. I also read a short, anonymously-penned biographical essay on Coetzee written shortly after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003. Predictably, the author's reclusive nature receives a disproportionate amount of attention in the piece, but the article does provide a succinct overview of Coetzee's writing as well as a largely sympathetic glimpse into the mind and life of a contemporary literary giant.
For tomorrow: Read another essay.
"Triumph of a One-Man Truth Commission." The Sunday Times [London] 5 Oct. 2003. Available online.
Williams, Ranti. "A Man's Salvation." Rev. of Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee. The Times [London] 25 June 1999. Available online.