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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a 'Foe'
After an accident (`Your missing leg is just a sign, a symbol or symptom') an old man looks back at his life (`a wasted chance') of missed opportunities (`having no child was the great mistake of my life'). Partly to blame are `those in whose lives you are born (and who) do not pass away.'
As a lonely heart, he looks for affection and falls in love with his nurse,...
Published on 29 April 2008 by Luc REYNAERT

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More for writers than readers
The first 80 pages of this book are riveting. Coetzee's prose is almost flawless as we follow Paul literally from the moment he's hit by young Wayne Bright or Blight, through his experiences with rehabilitation nurses and social services, unsuitable carers and finally the arrival of Marijana. It's a very human experience - the reader understands Paul's feelings that his...
Published on 15 Sept. 2007 by I Read, Therefore I Blog


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ceotzee revisits old flames, 14 Mar. 2007
By 
Sam J. Ruddock (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
Cycling one day, Paul Rayment is hit by a careless young driver and after he `flew through the air with the greatest of ease' finds his body maimed and his mind mired in the quicksand of regret. Nothing can lift his spirits until he employs a Croatian nurse and falls (absurdly) in love. When he succumbs to the myth that speaking ones love will transform his life, he finds himself leeching onto her surrogate family in the hope of rectifying his regrets. But when an elderly writer arrives to cast him as a character in her latest novel he is forced to listen to his conscience and analyse what is left of his disfigured life.

Coetzee loves getting into the minds of cantankerous old men whose staunch opposition to the mindset of the time leaves them adrift in a world they no longer see as their own. This is a typical Coetzee novel, full of his incisive analysis and evocative language; a good book, well worth reading.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Elizabeth Costello disappointment, 14 Aug. 2007
By 
Harry Hay (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
I'll keep it short, as previous reviewers have pointed out the excellence of the first third of this novel...

It really is a good read, an excellent book - or so I thought - Coetzee, back to what he is good at, writing excellent prose, great characters, with an intriguing, understated storyline. Then he (re)introduces Elizabeth.

The fact is I squirmed through, but ultimately enjoyed and respected Disgrace. I loved Youth. Then I came across Elizabeth Costello - what was that? A book I went through pains to finish and, at the end, left me wondering why I had bothered?

Elizabeth Costello is, to my mind, simply an irritating and ultimately irrelevant character - Mr. Coetzee, please "get over her!".

So, Slow Man, it lifts you up... and then leaves you in mid-air, slowly deflating... next time I pick up a Coetzee work I will be sure to check that Elizabeth Costello is nowhere to be found in its pages...
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars colonization as an act of love, 17 April 2007
By 
Lisa W. Jacobs (ny) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
Two points:

1. the postcolonial theme which runs through Coetzee's body of work: Paul's desire to take care of the Jokic family, to move into a shed in their backyard & watch over them = Paul is the patriarchal colonial figure (though he claims to Costello that he merely passes as Australian but is not in fact Australian) who attempts to colonize the newly immigrated Jokic family

2. Coetzee is neither Paul nor Costello; however i'd more closely identify him with Paul on the basis that he is a man; let's take Paul to be a man, not Coetezee, but just a man. that is all he is claiming to be at the end of the book; Costello is finally Paul's critic, and she is a female critic; she represents the voices of Coetzee's female critics - those who would speak out against his unfortunate passion for his nurse, a younger, happily married Croatian woman. his successful visit to the Jokic's where he receives his remodeled bike is facilitated by Costello; when they deliver it to him at some point in the not written future, she will not be there to ease the encounter; she won't be there because Paul has rejected her; he is not attracted to her; he is a man who is in love with a younger, married woman; he is a man with financial means; this story is not unfamiliar, it is a cliche & it happens everyday. but neither can he run off with with Costello & enter into her fantasy: the two of them living together in Melbourne. i would not want to reduce each character to their gender, but ultimately, this is a story about a man and a woman. Costello could not possibly write Paul's story: she thinks and acts like a woman, like her specific self and he like himself. Costello, being the most Austrailian of the characters, attempts to colonize Paul - to write his story through her urgings - she somewhat but does not ultimately succeed. and there is a hierarchy: Paul's attempt to colozine the Jokic's (see point #1) is equally unsuccessful. these two solitary characters, both in their twilight years, one a man, the other a woman, end up parting ways. each struggles to colonize the Other, and fails, in the end, to do so.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The road to recovery, 18 Dec. 2006
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
The slow man of Coetzee's novel is Paul Rayment, who in the opening pages we encounter flying through the air having been knocked off his cycle by a young motorist. The story then follows Paul's recovery from the accident, as a consequence of which his freedom is severely restricted. When he goes home having been released from hospital he is allocated care nurses and it his relationship with one of these nurses, her family, and the mysteriously appearing Elizabeth Costello that form the central theme.
Sixty plus year old retired photographer Paul is divorced, and is not a man without needs, the need for love and sexual fulfilment. He falls for one of his nurses, Croatian born Marijana Kokic, a robust and capable woman who comes across, perhaps as much because English is not her first language, as a little abrupt, yet very thorough and caring. Paul also becomes involved with Marijana's entire family, and especially Mariajna's sixteen year old son Drago, handsome, confident, charming and polite.
The elderly novelist Elizabeth Costello makes a sudden appearance as if from nowhere and imposes herself upon Paul, and she then becomes a constant feature for the duration, acting it seems as Paul's conscience (for a short while one wonders if she is real or if she exists only in Paul's mind). What is her motive, she appears to be very knowledgeable about Paul and the Kokics, but is her interest purely altruistic? Paul's relationship with Elizabeth wavers from loathing to tolerance, and maybe more.
This is a most endearing story; it is easy to see how Paul becomes infatuated with Marijana, who is fazed by none of the very personal and intimate care she has to provide. Paul's relationship with young Drago is touching; he clearly cares very much for the boy and is prepared to demonstrate that in generous practical ways. This is an interesting and unpredictable story, with a gratifying surprise towards the end.
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24 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best, 21 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Slow Man (Hardcover)
Coetzee is not the first novelist to concern himself with the ethics of fiction, but he is, arguably, the most aesthetically successful and formally daring. Slow Man is not, perhaps, for the average reader--not even the average reader of literary fiction--but it will reward those familiar with the totality of Coetzee's oeuvre in unexpected and fantastic ways. He is indisputably the greatest living writer in English.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a man guided by passion, 31 Jan. 2007
By 
HORAK (Zug, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
Is the hero a positive or negative character in a novel? Mr Coetzee doesn't really seem to care by choosing Paul Rayment, the main character in Slow Man, a bland man for a novelist. He is a former photographer in Adelaide, he is divorced without children and rather old fashioned with the habits of a typical bachelor.

After a bicycle accident which leads to the amputation of one of his legs he becomes infatuated with his Croatian nurse Marijana. Are such events likely to turn Paul Rayment into a hero? Probably not. But in the hands of a writer like J.-M. Coetzee they certainly are. It is the writer's skill to create a novel on the basis of the most banal events. It is the faculty to cast a particular glance on things and events which introduces depth into banality of everyday events.

It all starts with the apparitions of Elizabeth Costello in the life of Paul Rayment: a respected and intelligent author if a little moralizing at times who wishes to make him one of his characters in her novel, an idea Paul vehemently opposes. Using this strange situation Coetzee poses the question of convention: who is whose character? How does a plot arise? What right do authors have to impart emotions on people other than themselves? But the discussion of these issues doesn't prevent Slow Man from being a true work of fiction with characters adorned with remarkable personalities. This is due to the fact that they are drawn from two sides: from the exterior, in an apparently indifferent way, and from within with their most intimate preoccupations.

Ultimately the question of literary creation leads to another question in this novel in which there is a lot of reflecting on life and death: are we God's characters as much as Paul Rayment and Eliyabeth Costello and others are the novelist's characters?
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, 21 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
Was more than happy with this one. 'Slow Man' was my first experience of Coetzee and certainly will not be my last. Coetzee seems to have a very distinguished style of writing very much different to others I have read. It's almost a 'waltz' as the story glides along. This particular book contains great narrative to the first degree with added hints of suspense to many situations. I feel this book has the perfect balance of plot, narrative, emotion and the right delivery in the number and nature of its characters.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gradually grew on me, 8 Aug. 2006
By 
M. K. Enhorning (The world as we know it) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Slow Man (Paperback)
It took me a while to get into "Slow Man" mainly because I was triggered to read it when finishing "Disgrace", and at first SM wasn't quite up to par. Or perhaps I was still in post-Disgrace, not being fair to this work. However, it did get to me the second time I picked it up, and I'm glad I did. If you liked the pace in this book - pick up "Interpreter of maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri, I think you'll enjoy it.
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Slow Man
Slow Man by J M Coetzee (Paperback - 7 Sept. 2006)
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