- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 Sept. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 009947915X
- ISBN-13: 978-0099479154
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Life and Times of Michael K Paperback – 2 Sep 2004
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"A strong and memorable novel" (Guardian)
"It strikes deep inside the heart...The story is clean, clear, straight, the work of a mature imagination at full power...here is a book that will be celebrated for a long time" (Mail on Sunday)
"This is a trule astonishing novel... I finished Life & Times of Michael K in a state of elation, for all the misery and suffering it contains. I cannot recommend it highly enough" (Evening Standard)
"Beautifully written in a strong, plain, unpretentious style...distinguished by grim humour and powerful understatement" (Sunday Express)
"The quality of Coetzee's writing lies in his inner vision: dark, passionately compassionate, concerned with the nature of man" (Financial Times)
About the Author
J.M. Coetzee’s work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime, The Childhood of Jesus and, most recently, The Schooldays of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003.
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Set in Apartheid era South Africa during a fictionalised civil war, Michael K is a gardener and an outsider in Cape Town. He tries to return his sick mother to her rural birthplace, but lacks the appropriate paperwork and permissions. He is robbed, arrested, placed in an internment camp for vagrants and suffers the injustices of a grossly unfair system. However, he also learns to survive on his own and discovers a form of true freedom that is beyond the understanding of others. The image that concludes the book is as fine an image of the true value and resilience of life as I have read in a long time. What could so easily have been a book about the futility of life, becomes a challenge and a source of hope.
I love the directness of Coetzee's writing. Nothing is wasted. He is a two-time winner of the Booker Prize, and I would argue that this is the better of his two prizewinners. I recently had the misfortune to read a Booker shortlisted novel which the publisher had described as '... a novel to be talked of in the same breath as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, thought-provoking and life-changing.' That description would be much better suited to Life & Times of Michael K. Highly recommended.
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