Book Notes: J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace

This is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read in my life. It’s fucking glorious, people. Drop everything and go read it because it matters.

I avoided Disgrace for years because every review and blurb presented it as a novel about a professor who had an affair with a student and lost his job as a result. And who wants to read something like that?

In reality, though, the novel is not about affairs with students. It’s about an abyss separating civilizations, it’s about a woman who immolates herself on the altar of post-colonial guilt, it’s about getting outraged over imagined oppressions and escaping from them into slavery, it’s about the motives of the author of the piece I linked in my post on the real #metoo, it’s about the ways in which the belief in the sanctity of emancipation creates the worst kind of bondage. It’s about everything that matters.

I’ve looked at the NYTimes reviews of the novel, and it’s clear that many readers are so blinded by the idiotic rhetoric of aggressive SJW-ing that they saw in the novel a glorification of dismantling feminism for the purpose of expiating postcolonial guilt. Which just tells us that Coetzee is not exaggerating or inventing anything in his novel.

I read the novel in under 24 hours. Which says a lot, given that I’m taking care of a toddler all day.

2 thoughts on “Book Notes: J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace”

  1. I made the mistake to first read it in Romanian translation 12 years ago, and the woodenness of said translation + being a teenager and thus immortal put me off Coetzee until now. Thank you for persuading me to give this book another chance.

    I’m not sure, though, about the #metoo part. Melanie seemed to me an erasure of a woman; pretty much everyone in her life seems to have a precise opinion about what role she should play for them – the narrator, her family, her boyfriend, the student feminist group etc but I can’t quite figure out a motive here.

    Drop me an email if you’d like to talk about this further but not on the open internet, please 🙂


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