In the Heart of the Country Paperback – Sep 23 1997
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"A powerful study of lust, degradation and fantasy" Observer "It says something about the loneliness, about the craving for love, about the relation between master and slave and between white and black, and about man's earthly anguish and longing for salvation - in a way you do not easily escape from once it has gripped you" -- Andre Brink "The writing and mood are a remarkable piece of sustained intensity... One false word could have ruined this short tour de force completely. It never does" Daily Telegraph "An intellectual lyric which sings the absence of history, the electric lull before history breaks... As a piece of cultural psychoanalysis and diagnosis, it's glitteringly precise" -- Tom Paulin --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
J.M. Coetzee’s work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, The Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life, Youth, and Disgrace which won the Booker Prize, making him the first author to have won it twice.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is structured in fragments numbered from 1 to 266 to convey a seeming sense of linearity and thus give the reader a precarious fil conducteur to hold on to. But, by and by, the reading becomes somewhat disorienting and dis-astrous. Indeed, the boundary between reality and imagination is often blurred to our detriment since we vacillate endlessly between the two. Magda's narrative is riddled with adverbs of uncertainty, repetitions and at times contradictions. Yet, she has managed to accomplish an ingenious feat : captivate the reader's attention until the last page of the novel only to realize that s/he comes out of it none the wiser because all the contradictions that permeate the novel remain baffling.
Coetzee's novel achieves a double goal. First, to give voice to the voiceless Other, Magda, allowing her to dissolve the totalising linearity of the patriarchal discourse. Second, to condemn Apartheid as an authoritarian regime and portend its demise, and in both endeavours Coetzee's In the Heart of the Country has succeeded masterfully.
Narrative is set 'in the heart of the country' - in the middle of the Africe, showing us a father and daughter on a small, outback farm... nothing special so far... One day, father gets himself a new lover and that causes breakdown in a daughter who yearned for his love and couldn't stand some other woman to take her place... Nothing special so far either.
What makes it so special. When one reads Magda's thoughts one can not but think of all the lonely people out there, madneses that roam the wilderness, hidden and forbidden, dangerous... Presenting the portrait of every madman out there, mixing the reality and imagination, bloody and violent worlds that intermix each other... Coetzee finds his words exactly as they should be, there is no overwrighting, there is no endless narrative, only concise thoughts of not so concise mind. Brilliant book...!!
Most recent customer reviews
This novel is Coetzee's descent into madness essay, but it is more of a plane crach into madness. His most openly philosophical work except perhaps Master of Petersburg. Read morePublished on April 9 2002
I wholeheartedly disagree with the reviews I have read of this book. I felt that it was an interesting character study and almost frightening at times in the madness and passion... Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2001 by EriKa