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. . . .
Fiercely revealing, bluntly unsentimental. . .a telling portrait of the artist as a young man that illuminates the hidden source of his art." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Exceptional...a scorched tale of race, caste, shame, and—at times—hilarious bewilderment." —The New Yorker
"Tremendously readable and powerful...a masterfully told, spare and accessible memoir." —The Boston Globe
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.
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.
About the Author
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa's highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.