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Nobel Prize for Coetzee

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The 2003’s Nobel Prize for literature is awarded to South African writer J.M. Coetzee, “who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider” as the jury put it. After Nadine Gordimer he is the second South Africa author to receive the prize.

The press release summarizes his work as follows:

J.M. Coetzee’s novels are characterised by their well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and analytical brilliance. But at the same time he is a scrupulous doubter, ruthless in his criticism of the cruel rationalism and cosmetic morality of western civilisation. His intellectual honesty erodes all basis of consolation and distances itself from the tawdry drama of remorse and confession. Even when his own convictions emerge to view, as in his defence of the rights of animals, he elucidates the premises on which they are based rather than he argues for them.

Well, I have to admit, though I heard a lot of good about Coetzee especially in the last year, I haven’t come around to read any of his work. However, I guess now would be the best time to dwelve into his novels!

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About Michelle Dittrich

  • Bravo! Coetzee is one of the most unique writers alive. It is impossible to confuse his work with anyone else’s.

    I recommend starting with Life and Times of Michael K. I left that book, half-read, in a taxi in Philly and was so upset I went straight to Barnes & Noble and bought another copy so I could finish it. Yes, it was worth two purchases.

    It is pretty amazing that South Africa has produced so many gifted writers. The sometimes overlooked South African writer I often encourage people to check out is Bessie Head.

  • Thanks for the recommendation! I’m always thankful to be pointed into the right direction when I’m trying a new author!

  • Coetzee has always been on of the most talked about writers…

    …’ruthless in his criticism of the cruel rationalism and cosmetic morality of western civilisation’…

    If I was a teenager maybe this might have impressed me. But these days with all the media coverage abound, people just can not get away with things without being challenged.

    What’s wrong with being rational and striving for morality. Sounds like a biased attack on the riches of the Western cultures.

    I have not read this piece of work yet.
    It’s the reason for the award that are rooted in fear of a failed ideology. This award was once revered. Now it has been reduced to a stage for cheap political attacks. It’s a darn shame. I guess the temptation to be honorable and fair is too much these days.