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Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Lifeby J M Coetzee
Synopses & Reviews
Again two carriages stood at the front door of the house at Petrovskoe. In one of them sat Mimi, the two girls, and their maid, with the bailiff, Jakoff, on the box, while in the other — a britchka — sat Woloda, myself, and our servant Vassili. Papa, who was to follow us to Moscow in a few days, was standing bareheaded on the entrance-steps. He made the sign of the cross at the windows of the carriages. The carriages began to roll away, and the birch trees of the great avenue filed out of sight. I was not in the least depressed on this occasion, for my mind was not so much turned upon what I had left as upon what was awaiting me. In proportion as the various objects connected with the sad recollections which had recently filled my imagination receded behind me, those recollections lost their power, and gave place to a consolatory feeling of life, youthful vigor, freshness, and hope. Seldom have I spent four days more — well, I will not say gaily, since I should still have shrunk from appearing gay — but more agreeably and pleasantly than those occupied by our journey. . . .
Coetzee grew up in a new development north of Cape Town, tormented by guilt and fear. With a father he despised, and a mother he both adored and resented, he led a double life—the brilliant and well-behaved student at school, the princely despot at home, always terrified of losing his mother's love. His first encounters with literature, the awakenings of sexual desire, and a growing awareness of apartheid left him with baffling questions; and only in his love of the high veld ("farms are places of freedom, of life") could he find a sense of belonging. Bold and telling, this masterly evocation of a young boy's life is the book Coetzee's many admirers have been waiting for, but never could have expected.
J.M. Coetzee grew up in a new development north of Cape Town, with a father he despised and a mother he both adored and resented. Bold and telling, this masterly evocation of a young boy's life under apartheid is the book Coetzee's many admirers have been waiting for. "Exceptional. . . . A scorched tale of race, caste, shame, and--at times--hilarious bewilderment".--THE NEW YORKER.
About the Author
J.M. Coetzee is a professor of general literature at the University of Cape Town. His many awards include the Booker Prize, twice, for The Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and for Disgrace in 1999. He is a two-time Booker Prize winner, has also won the CNA prize, South Africas premier literary award (three times), the Prix Etranger Femina, the Jerusalem Prize, the Lannan Literary Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize.
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