10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Dark and incisive,
This review is from: Dusklands (Paperback)
"Dusklands" consists of two very different parts. In "The Vietnam Project", Mr Coetzee tells the story of Eugene Dawn, a specialist in psychological warfare whose task it is to establish a document called the Vietnam Project dealing with the so-called Phase IV of the Vietnam conflict in the years 1973-1974. To give his imagination a helpful impulse, Dawn carries with him photographs that will illustrate the report. They show gruesome scenes of the war like for example sergeant Clifford Houston copulating with a Vietnamese woman or two other sergeants, Berry and Wilson, posing with several severed Vietnamese heads as trophies. But soon Dawn is driven to breakdown and madness by the stress of this macabre project to win the war in Vietnam. After having been driven to a nearly fatal assault on his child Martin, Dawn is placed in an institution. The text closes with Dawn reflecting as follows: "I have high hopes of finding whose fault I am."
"The narrative of Jacobus Coetzee" is actually a translation from Afrikaans by J.M. Coetzee of a text published in 1762. It is the account of a hideous vengeance of a frontiersman on a tribe of Hottentots in South Africa.
Both Eugene Dawn in the 1970s and Jacobus Coetzee in the 1760s are dealers in death who claim their humanity and impressively express their feelings of guilt.
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Initial post: 16 Jan 2008 16:37:59 GMT
L. Minaar says:
"The narrative of Jacobus Coetzee" is in fact not a translation. The whole history and mythology surrounding the text is a fictional construction. Coetzee has a very sophisticated sense of humour.
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