Sunday, January 10, 2010

1st meeting of 2010: Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Written by a South African-born author who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, this book was first published in 1999 and won the Booker Prize in 1999. Disgrace was also made into a movie and won the International Critic's Award in Toronto Film Festival in 2008.

Summary: Disgrace is the story of a South African professor of English descent who loses everything: his reputation, his job, his peace of mind, his good looks, his dreams of artistic success, and finally even his ability to protect his cherished daughter.The novel tells the story of David Lurie, twice-divorced and dissatisfied with his job as a Communications professor, teaching one specialized class in Romantic literature at a technical university in Cape Town in post-apartheid South Africa. His "disgrace" comes when he seduces one of his students and he does nothing to protect himself from its consequences. Lurie was working on Lord Byron at the time of his disgrace, and "the irony is that he comes to grief from an escapade that Byron would have thought distinctly timid."[2] He is dismissed from his teaching position, after which he takes refuge on his daughter's farm in the Eastern Cape. For a time, his daughter's influence and natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. Shortly after becoming comfortable with rural life, he is forced to come to terms with the aftermath of an attack on the farm in which his daughter is raped and impregnated and he is violently assaulted. In Disgrace, those who feel disgraced are also those who are punished. [from Wikipedia]

January 10th, 2010, 1pm
attendees: Susan, Sandra, Shanna, Bernadette, Jill, and Veronica
main discussion: Why didn't he fight for himself? Why did he just give up on his life? 
How did losing his privilege affect him? Did losing his place as an academic, his white privilege, his good looks give him some sense of humility, or does he just fight against it? How is Lurie's story also the story of post-apartheid S. Africa?

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