This isn’t a nice story and the book doesn’t have nice, easy to like characters, but there was something that kept me going through it, Coetzee’s writhing style (bar a chapter of over the top prose about a Byron opera Lurie is writing) kept me wanting to find out what would happen in the end – to his whole cast of dislikeable characters.
Despite finding Lurie quite repulsive as an lecherous old man I couldn’t help but feel some of the rage injustices he felt about his daughters experiences. A bit like those times when you feel the world is thinking upside down and no one can see why you disagree!
This definitely isn’t one of those paperbacks you’d happily race through whilst relaxing on a beach holiday, it’s dark – and a fitting read for this time of year where you don’t see much daylight and the brightness and hope of Spring seems a long way off. But perhaps it wouldn’t seem right to read a book about post apartheid South Africa which is light hearted because as a political and social situation it’s far from light hearted – and having read over half the Booker winners now I’ve learnt that it’s not that kind of literary prize.