Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

What a fascinating book. The tale of a man (David) losing his way, submitting to his desires and how redemption can sometimes be lost as well.

The story is of an ageing divorcee college lecturer, who seduces a student. Their brief affair finds him cast out of the college, and of his community and he seeks refuge on his daughter’s farm. He is a man used to power and finds himself struggling to adapt, never comfortable in his daughter’s home. Later three black men come to the house, attack him and rape his daughter. The latter act drives the tension and dynamic for the rest of the novel as David struggles to understand why his daughter wishes to stay on at the farm, and why she decides to keep the baby. Times are changing and he finds himself lost.

Ultimately a bleak story, there are glimpses of humanity along the way, some hopeful others repulsive and I very quickly found that I couldn’t put this down. There are few characters but each one gives you fresh perspective and opens a few more avenues of thought, or offers another part solution to the problems David is struggling to come to terms with.

Highly recommended.

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