Saturday, January 30, 2010


Disgrace by J.M Coetzee
Genre: Domstic Fiction (also my classic)

In Disgrace, a 52 year old projessor at Cape Town University who has been divorced twice finds himself unemployed after having a sexual relationship with a student.  He refused to defend himself or seek counseling to save his job.  He feels that he acted as a man should....act on desire.  I have a feeling this is what probably ended his two marriages.  Before the relationship with the student, he found desires filled by a weekly "working" woman who left the business.  He was lost without her and not willing to settle for another one of the agencies women so instead he started the affair. 

Once he finds himself unemployed, he decides to visit his daughter who lives on a farm taking care of stray dogs.  He finds life there to be very different from city life and much more dangerous.  After his daughters house was robbed and they were both attacked, she changes and becomes more determined to stay and have a life there.  He wants her to leave before she is killed by the local thugs. 

Through the story, he is trying to find his place.  Who is he and where does he belong?  He begins to acknowledge that his relationship with the student was a bad idea and after returning to the city months later apologizes to her family.  He finds his home robbed and still he has no job.  With nowhere else to go, he returns to his daughters town and rents a room while he tries to repair their relationship which was strained from the time spent living in the same house.  Upon his return he finds his lesbian daughter is pregnant---from the men who robbed them on his first visit.  He is outraged that she insists on keeping the child and refuses to press charges on the one of three suspects.  He doesn't understand their way of life, but in an attempt to be there for his daughter he remains to assist in any way he can. 

While this book is called Domestic Fiction which has been compared to the genre Women's Relationship, it is written from the man's prospective.  It is what I would call a gentle read.  There is no suspense or thrill....nothing that makes you unable to put the book down because you HAVE to know what will happen next.  It was an enjoyable read with a good story and some interesting lessons.  I am not sure however why it is considered a classic.  It was published in 1999 so I am not even sure it has been out long enough to be considered a classic.  Overall, I enjoyed this book.

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