Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
The aptly named Disgrace, winner of the 1999 Booker and 2000 Commonwealth Prizes, deals with several kinds of disgrace. On the surface level, we find the protagonist, a fifty-two year old professor of English, David Lurie, compelled to resign from his position in disgrace after an awkward affair with one of his students. Foundering after his life comes crashing down, Lurie leaves Cape Town to visit his daughter, Lucy, on her rural small-holding. Haltingly at first, but then with increasing comfort, David settles into a rural life, slowly rebuilding himself after the loss of his professorship. But when three strangers violently rob the far, attack Lurie, and rape his daughter, Lurie and the reader are forced to explore the meaning and ramifications of several facets of disgrace. Luries disgrace, his daughter's, and most subtlety, the disgrace of South African apartheid and its resulting racial tensions.