Of all that I have read and all the new authors that I had read in 2008, the one author who took me by surprise and affected me most was Coetzee. The first book that I had occasion to read was “The Life and Times of Michael K.”
It seemed to me that the book was Michael K’s autobiography. The book is a about a simple SouthAfrican/ African man and his attempts to live a life of freedom, choice and respect. Coetzee’s choice of words, the prefect description were the highlights of the book. Reading it was like walking on a stream of water. The reader is aware of the fluidity of the stream below him, yet the firmness of the surface allows him to tread over it. Over all it was a great experience.
Immediately, after “K” I picked up “Youth”. I was amazed at the distinction in the language, descriptions of the setting and the people involved. This book is about a young man, a boy who has unfulfilled aspirations and in the end comes to terms with it. Coetzee suddenly transforms himself to an immigrant in London. I am not sure if any other author could have written a similar plot that would interest me.
After a break, I read, the “Master of Petersburg”. The novel is of course based in Russia, Petersburg more specifically and Coetzee takes you to Russia with him. He spins a romantic story, that of a father and son. He builds a plot and as you watch in amazement, leads the protagonist to his fate. I am not sure whether the story is biographical. All I know is that it perfectly fits his mysterious hero – Fyodor Dostoevesky.
That the same person could write so beautifully three absolutely different novels in three unconnected settings is a display of his genius. I discovered a genius. I discovered creativity. I discovered all of this in 2008.