Scenes From Provincial Life

Book - 2009
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A young English biographer is working on a book about the late writer, John Coetzee. He plans to focus on a period in the seventies when, the biographer senses, Coetzee was 'finding his feet as a writer'. He embarks on a series of interviews with people who were important to Coetzee - a married woman with whom he had an affair, his favourite cousin Margot, a Brazilian dancer whose daughter had English lessons with him, former friends and colleagues. Thus emerges a portrait of the young Coetzee as an awkward, bookish individual, regarded as an outsider within the family. His insistence on doing manual work, his long hair and beard, and rumours that he writes poetry evoke nothing but suspicion in the South Africa of the time.

Publisher: London : Harvill Secker, 2009.
ISBN: 9780099540540
Branch Call Number: COE
Characteristics: 266 pages ; 23 cm


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Aug 31, 2014

A well crafted autobiographical novel. Definitely worth reading.

Feb 25, 2013

This book is narrated by women and men in Coetzee's life via personal interviews, yet written by Coetzee. Coetzee is a complex character in this novel, as no one can reach his core. Is he a reliable narrator? I found myself amazed at Coetzee's ability to be introspective. At the same time, it's sad, because Coetzee is so misunderstood, yet near the end, one of his characters (who is Coetzee writing as a former lover/colleague) gives us insight into Coetzee's thinking. Incredibly humbling, and I doubt that many authors would be able to pull this off. I loved it! We all just want the author to find love and passion in someone or something.

Jul 27, 2012

Very clever. The narrator is Coetzee's biographer using diary fragments and interviews with Coetzee's friends.

Apr 25, 2012

definitely read the reviews. I enjoyed as always, but, again, not up there with Disgrace in my opinion.

Dec 17, 2009

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2009. I was a bit perturbed when I began reading to realize this is the third volume in a series...but it didn't matter in the least, that I hadn't read the first two books (Childhood, and Youth). Told from a very clever perspective - it was fascinating.

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