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Disgrace [Hardcover]

J. M. Coetzee
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hard read May 31 2002
What drew to this novel was the title and the fact that it was touted as one of eleven best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review. That's what drew me. What I was in store for, I was unaware.
A well written book by J. M. Coetzee--Disgrace, is the story of a man and his view of the world. The story takes place in South Africa, where David Lurie, a professor of Communications at Cape Technical University, is faced with his disgrace. Now divorced, he has relations with whores, faculty members, and a student.
His downfall is Melanie, a student that he practically rapes when he visits her home. He has no feelings but his own. It is as if something overtakes him, and he gives in to his impulses. Melanie leaves school and the faculty finds out about this affair.
He is ousted from the university and leaves for the uplands of the Eastern Cape to visit his daughter, Lucy. Lucy is a work of art herself. She owns a farm where she grows flowers and sells them in town. She also takes in animals and cares for them.
She is raped when three men come into her home. Her field hand, Petrus, knows of the men and David is enraged. He wants Lucy to turn the men in but Lucy says this is not the way of the land. She wants to stay here and survive.
She, like him, makes decisions based on her own disgrace. He would not tell the truth about his demise, and she decides to carry the child conceived from the rape. They both have to accept each other's decisions and move on.
As David has been on the farm a while, he has encounters with Bev Shaw, the somewhat vet in these parts of the world. She loves animals, but hates to put them to sleep when sick. David works with her and they have relations. He feels sorry for her and gives her what she wants. He has nothing left of himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a dog July 13 2007
By Friederike Knabe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Set in the early days of post-apartheid South Africa, this short yet intense novel explores shifting power and race relationships and white middle class insecurities that were an important facet of that period. Coetzee exemplifies the new conditions by concentrating on a few memorable individuals. He places his characters into complex situations with sparse sentences, exposing the main character's thought processes and interactions with great precision. The beauty and peacefulness of the landscape provides a contrasting frame to the human turmoil. It is not a book the reader will put down easily or forget quickly afterwards. The story was awarded the Booker Prize in 1999.

Communications professor David Lurie, the main protagonist, has been expelled from his university following a sexual harassment charge. Not willing to apologize and explain himself adequately, he prefers to leave in disgrace. He also hopes to find time to pursue his great ambition: to write an opera on the romantic life of Byron. His affection for the Romantics and his Byron project in particular exposes David's wish to escape the realities of the day. Twice divorced and alone, he finds refuge at his daughter's small remote homestead. What does his visit mean - will he stay? How will he adjust to Lucy's rather unusual, though simple, lifestyle, running a kennel for dogs and selling flowers in the market?

Until now, David's contacts with his daughter have been sporadic and communication remains uneasy. He is suspicious of her friends and neighbours as well as of Petrus, former farm assistant, turned co-proprietor since the political change. While father and daughter adjust to their temporarily shared life, a vicious criminal attack leaves them both deeply wounded, physically and emotionally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Feb. 6 2005
DISGRACE is an incredibly insightful story. With its and deep exploration of the relationship between father and daughter, Coetzee successfully brought out a story that is difficult to forget. The characters are rich and portray deep, though extreme emotions, rationale and impulse. Though quite understated and subtle, the writing is nevertheless rich in so meaning. There is everything to learn from this book. Coetzee's writing style is superb, the setting is ingenious and the pace of the novel is fast and absorbing.

In this novel, J.M Coetzee's brilliantly tells the story of the 52 David Lurie, a professor of communications at a Cape Town University, who is twice divorced and went around with the notion that having a woman is no problem. But when he realest that he is no longer alluring, he sought the convenient service of a prostitute, an arrangement that eventually came to an end, leaving him with no outlet for his virility. David Lurie finally convinced himself that an affair with a young female student was not bad after all and went for it. But then the complaint of sexual harassment turned his academic life upside down as he is fired. The unwritten rules of the society ensured that he longer found a place amongst them.

With that realization, David Lurie travels to the country side to a dangerous and isolated farm to write and spend some time with her daughter who ran an animal refuge and sold produce and flowers. Lucy as she is called is violated by thugs and with that David's disgrace became complete. David suddenly finds himself re-evaluating his life, his ties to people, his relationship with his only daughter, as well as his relationships with women. In all of those, he learnt that love is two-sided, a matter of give and take.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Misogyny and Racism
This book was wonderfully written. That said, I did not enjoy reading it. It talks about the "very real" plights of a white man in South Africa. Read more
Published 22 months ago by lears.shadow
4.0 out of 5 stars Disgrace
this product took three weeks to get to me but thats what they told me would be the maximum, so it was expected, showed up exactly how they described!
Published on Oct. 17 2012 by kai morgan
1.0 out of 5 stars My review
I didn't look the book and i don't know why it won a price. I'm sure that it was for political reasons. Read more
Published on July 18 2012 by menelik 2
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't understand the raves
How could this book have won such great acclaim? I was very disappointed by this famous book, even by the writing style. Read more
Published on May 14 2012 by Janet L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly as described
Very happy with this order. It arrived on time and it was in the condition they said it would be.
Published on May 17 2011 by Victoria
2.0 out of 5 stars Disgrace (I thought about calling it 'disgraceful' but that's probably...
I found it really annoying that the daughter pretty much blamed herself for getting raped. Nothing really happened in the book, and most of it was depressing. Read more
Published on July 22 2010 by autumnrose
1.0 out of 5 stars Average
My overall feelings after reading this much hyped book was one of dissapointment. The characters aren't believable and the writing is average at best, but also pretentious in... Read more
Published on March 15 2010 by R. Blacklock
2.0 out of 5 stars I hated this book--despite perhaps my better judgement.
I hate this type of novel. Short, silly, and somehow meriting a twenty dollar price tag. I had to read this for my first-year university English class, and since my teacher was a... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2007 by David Waterman
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Book
This is a terrific book. Beautifully written. Great character development, and also very insightful cultural analysis. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Critique of Modern, Rational Man
Well educated, proud, rational, practical, David Lurie fancies himself a reasonable man, somewhat alone, but "happy" with his discretionary income and his somewhat comfortable... Read more
Published on June 5 2002 by M. JEFFREY MCMAHON
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