3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Summertime (Hardcover)
I can see why this book is touted so widely to win the Booker Prize. It makes an excellent companion to the other two autobiographical books, Youth and Boyhood. In this book, Coetzee tackles what seem like wilderness years. He is in his 30s, he's had to return to South Africa in disgrace, he lives with his dad and despite his Phd, his only income comes from tutoring high school kids. In short, his life isn't looking great. Added to this, he is extremely unlucky in love.
Coetzee I believe is at his best when writing about South Africa and the outsider. Both are dealt with here. Using an unusual device of creating a fictional biographer writing about himself. Coetzee is able to be extremely cruel about himself. He depicts himself as awkward, academic and devoid of normal feelings.
Yet, it is an incredible read. It depicts a difficult time in anyone's life. You hit 30, and you're wondering is this all my life has to offer? In his case, his writing career hasn't got started and he can't relate to his father. Capturing his life long before the Nobel Prize and the accolades, Coetzee cleverly portrays the artist as an awkward young man struggling to come to terms with his life.
As we all know, thankfully in real life the story ends happily.