Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Book Reviews
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J.M. Coetzee is one of those great novelists whose written words carry through beautifully taking the reader on little journeys leaving a wonderful feeling of having read a good book. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003 Coetzee needs no introduction.

Having read his book ‘Disgrace’ which I found interesting I was persuaded to find and obtain ‘Slow Man’ . Curiosity got the better of me and soon enough came home with a copy from Blossom Book Store.

Coetzee was the first writer to twice be awarded the Booker Prize: first for Life and Times of Michael K in 1983, and again for Disgrace in 1999. He was also early favorite to win a third Booker Prize for Coetzee. Made it to the shortlist but lost out to Hilary Mantel.
Coetzee is known as reclusive and avoids publicity to such an extent that he did not collect either of his two Booker Prizes in person.

South African writer Rian Malan has said that:
Coetzee is a man of almost monkish self-discipline and dedication. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat. He cycles vast distances to keep fit and spends at least an hour at his writing-desk each morning, seven days a week. A colleague who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once. An acquaintance has attended several dinner parties where Coetzee has uttered not a single word

“He lies stretched out,at peace. It is a glorious morning. The sun’s touch is kind. There are worse things than letting oneself go slack, waiting for one’s strength to return. In fact there might be worse things than having a quick nap. He closes his eyes: the world tilts beneath him, rotates: he goes absent.
Once briefly, he comes back. The body that had flown so lightly through the air has grown ponderous, so ponderous that for the life of him he cannot lift a finger. And there is someone looming over him, cutting off his air, a youngster with wiry hair and spots along his hairline…” ~ Slow Man

The book can be read as a metafictional discourse on the inter-relationship between the literary author and the characters, and with reality.

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