Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Lyrical, disturbing and brilliant
on 25 November 2000
Coetzee - a male South African Booker Prize winning author - has got right into the mind and body of a young woman from 18th Century England - and cast her away on none other than Robinson Crusoe's island. There, she finds an ageing Crusoe doggedly building terraces, day after day, with his mysteriously tongueless black slaveboy, Friday. Crusoe accepts Susan's presence, but is deeply set in his ways. The island is his world and his - to her - reasonless building of the terraces, is his way of bringing order to an otherwise terrifyingly lawless existence. Once, Crusoe has a fever and Susan comforts him with her body - an event most beautifully and sparely described - but they become no closer as friends. Finally a sail appears and the trio head back to England. But Crusoe dies in Susan's arms en route and she, with Friday now at her heels, determines to find an author who can properly tell their tale. This is when she meets Defoe - who becomes in part her potential saviour, providing her with sustenance - but also her 'Foe', because in his attempts to make the book appealing to the widest public, he actuallly writes her out of the tale... This is a book all about the power of words, the search for a voice and Truth. I won't give away the amazing ending, but simply recommend this extraordinary book to anyone who loves a gently demanding, but superb, read.