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Disgrace Hardcover – 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: New York, New York, U.S.A.: Viking Press; 1st Edition edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670887315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670887316
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.4 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,208,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Friederike Knabe TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 13 2007
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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