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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron
Home Fire: A Novel
Kamila Shamsie
A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
Howard Zinn


Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee

There are many reasons a reader may not like J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace. For starters, the subject matter is difficult. Some may find the book lacking in story. The writing is very Bookerish—it's sophisticated, it taps the emotions through the cerebral. One could say the novel is racist. Sexist. Disturbing—definitely disturbing.


The novel borders on many of these things, but I feel Coetzee does a fabulous job handling the matter with grace. His prose is tight and evocative. Every time a lag is foreseeable in the narrative, Coetzee turns up the tension. Given the book's size and delicate pace, it is amazing in the end how much ground is actually covered.


Readers of well-crafted literature should love this story. Aside from the brutality, the bleakness, the possibly offensive social commentaries, what is not to love?