- Audio CD
- Publisher: Bolinda audio (1 Aug. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1740947746
- ISBN-13: 978-1740947749
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,426,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Elizabeth Costello Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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For Australian writer JM Coetzee, winner of two Booker Prizes and the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, the world of receiving literary awards and giving speeches must be such a commonplace that he has put the circuit at the centre of his book, Elizabeth Costello. As the work opens, the eponymous Elizabeth, a fictional novelist, is in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, to receive the Stowe Award. For her speech at the Williamstown's Altona College she chooses the tired topic, "What Is Realism?" and quickly loses her audience in her unfocused discussion of Kafka. From there, readers follow her to a cruise ship where she is virtually imprisoned as a celebrity lecturer to the ship's guests. Next, she is off to Appleton College where she delivers the annual Gates Lecture. Later, she will even attend a graduation speech.
Coetzee has made this project difficult for himself. Occasional writing--writing that includes graduation speeches, acceptance speeches, or even academic lectures--is a less than auspicious form around which to build a long work of fiction. A powerful central character engaged in a challenging stage of life might sustain such a work. Yet, at the start, Coetzee declares that Elizabeth is "old and tired", and her best book, The House on Eccles Street is long in her past. Elizabeth Costello lacks a progressive plot and offers little development over the course of each new performance at the lectern. Readers are given Elizabeth fully formed with only brief glimpses of her past sexual dalliances and literary efforts.
In the end, Elizabeth Costello seems undecided about its own direction. When Elizabeth is brought to a final reckoning at the gates of the afterlife, she begins to suspect that she is actually in hell, "or at least purgatory: a purgatory of clichés". Perhaps Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, which can be read as an extended critique of clichéd writing, is a portrait of this purgatory. While some readers may find Coetzee's philosophical prose sustenance enough on the journey, some will turn back at the gate. --Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.
Coetzee is a writer who refuses to take easy ways out. ("San Francisco Chronicle")
Like Kafka, Coetzee too offers a glimpse of something else behind the working of the mysterious law of the universe, touching the human in his very attempts to record the dying animal within us. ("The Boston Globe")
Brilliant... Achieves an overall impression that is extraordinarily comprehensive and satisfying. ("Los Angeles Times Book Review")
"Elizabeth Costello" is learned, intelligent, and thought- provoking... Coetzee's prose is flawless. ("Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel")
["Elizabeth Costello"] resonates in the mind long after it has been put aside. (John Banville, "The Nation")
[Elizabeth Costello] resonates in the mind long after it has been put aside. (John Banville, The Nation) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.
Top Customer Reviews
'Elizabeth Costello' is a paradoxical book. It presents itself as a novel, but is based around previously published material that appeared at different times in different places and in forms that are not clearly novelistic or even fictional. We are told that it is fiction; but much of the material is clearly autobiographical in origin, and the central character, whose personality and concerns hold the disparate sections together, might be caricatured as Coetzee in a dress.
In spite of this variousness, and what one might call its centrifugal tendencies - the book threatening to fly apart - I found that 'Elizabeth Costello' works as a novel. It was published in the year in which Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the intelligence and seriousness that mark the author's earlier work are everywhere apparent.Read more ›
If you would like to open your mind to a broader scope outside the blase assumptions that many academics and other thinkers make, then you must read this book. If you do not, then equally you must read it.
dreary Elizabeth Costello. I enjoy reading philosophy from the pens of PHILOSOPHERS, but not regurgitated
(as here) by some lost (though pretentious) novelist writing in no man's land. Couldn't finish it: one evening,
tore it to pieces in frustration, and threw it in the dustbin. This book is a fuss about nothing, and a waste
of precious reading time: there is no REAL substance here; it is all 'surface bright' and muddled. Awful!
So back to the TRULY GREAT novelists: Dickens, George Eliot, the Brontes, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce et al!
So I too wasted a lot of time looking for the story etc, and I can understand the frustration readers have expressed on finding there was none. I mean, there really was no need for the subterfuge; we're not all a bunch of clods, many of us WILL buy and read a book of essays.
Having said that, I found the essays themselves superb. Balanced arguments persuasively made, and so masterfully written that I became interested even in the matters I didn't care much about, or disagreed with. There is an obvious homage to Kafka at the end which I also found very good and deeply unsettling and thought-provoking. Well worth a read.
Coetzee has done something both astonishing and baffling with this novel. At the back of the book he lists his acknowledgements. The truth is that substantial amounts of this novel are lectures that Coetzee himself has previously given and/or published before. As the novel progresses these lectures are integrated less into the story until the final short section which seems to hang very precariously upon the end of the novel and bears no obvious relation to the story. Rather than give us just a straightforward critique of literary fame integrated into his story, Coetzee also mocks how novels are traditionally constructed by writing what amounts to very little story to link these disconnected works. This isn't to say that it makes a bad novel. On the contrary, the story is very effective. I only longed to hear more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I came to Coetzee after a decade with this deceptively slim title. Coetzee's prose and observations still have that vice-like effect on me, and I was almost breathless turning page... Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2014 by CultureDrinker
I bought this as a book club read but didn't get very far into it when boredom took over. My husband persevered with it but only just. No one in our group of twelve enjoyed it.Published on 14 May 2013 by R. Hirst
a very bad book from a very good novelist. i would place several of coetzee's early books amongst my favourite novels but this is just terrible. he seems to have lost his way. Read morePublished on 25 Feb. 2012 by soundofsleep
This book has been well reviewed by others already - suffice to say then that I think Coetzee's output includes some of the best works of fiction ever written (Disgrace, Foe,... Read morePublished on 25 Aug. 2011 by Greystones113
Elizabeth Costello is an aging writer engaged on a tour of the world, taking part in debates, collecting awards and listening to talks.
Except she isn't. Read more
In this more or less loosely constructed novel built around lectures given by the author's double, the Australian writer Elisabeth Costello, J. M. Read morePublished on 15 Feb. 2010 by Luc REYNAERT
I found this dull, lifeless, very difficult to read - essentially very hard going. This is the first Coetzee novel I've read and based on this, I probably won't want to read any... Read morePublished on 6 Oct. 2009 by AT