Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1999 Booker Prize Winner

Disgrace by J M Coetzee


Publisher: Secker & Warburg

Length: 224 pages

About: South African lecturer retires after affair with student

Style: 3rd person

Where: South Africa

When: 1990s


Publisher’s synopsis:

Refusing to apologise after an impulsive affair with a student, David Lurie, a 52 year old professor in Cape Town, seeks refuge on his daughter’s farm where a savage and disturbing attack brings into relief the faults in their relationship. Pitching the moral code of political correctness against the values of Romantic poetry, Disgrace examines dichotomies both in personal relationships and in the unaccountability of one culture towards another.



FOR A MAN of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well. On Thursday afternoons he drives to Green Point. Punctually at two p.m. he presses the buzzer at the entrance to Windsor Mansions, speaks his name, and enters. Waiting for him at the door of No. 113 is Soraya. He goes straight through to the bedroom, which is pleasant-smelling and softly lit, and undresses. Soraya emerges from the bathroom, drops her robe, slides into bed beside him. 'Have you missed me?' she asks. 'I miss you all the time,' he replies. He strokes her honey-brown body, unmarked by the sun; he stretches her out, kisses her breasts; they make love.




"Coetzee has devised a subtly brilliant commentary on the nature and balance of power in his homeland. (...) Disgrace is a mini-opera without music by a writer at the top of his form. Its bleak vision lingers, shattering any hope of a redemptive state of grace."  

Elizabeth Gleick, Time, 29th November 1999


Not so good:

...The scenes of Petrus clearing his land, aided by Lurie, recall the passages in Foe in which Friday is set to work on the stone terraces, alongside his master. Petrus himself is recalcitrant, unyielding: he is the rock on which the future will be built. Disgrace is a deeply pessimistic book. It may have made the Booker shortlist, but it will not win unqualified praise from Coetzee’s more prescriptive critics in the South African literary establishment.

London Review of Books, Elizabeth Lowry 14th October 1999 for full review click here



About the author

J M Coetzee was born in South Africa in 1940. His novels include Waiting for the Barbarians (awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1980) and The Master of Petersburg (awarded the Irish Times International Fiction Prize in 1995). In 2003 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. J M Coetzee lives in Australia.
















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Film starring John Malkovich released in 2010 



2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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