Life and Times of Michael K

Life and Times of Michael K

4.6 10
by J. M. Coetzee, Michael Coetzee
     
 

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From author of Waiting for the Barbarians and Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee

J.M. Coetzee's latest book co-written with Arabella Kurtz, The Good Story, is now available from Viking Books

In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone

Overview

From author of Waiting for the Barbarians and Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee

J.M. Coetzee's latest book co-written with Arabella Kurtz, The Good Story, is now available from Viking Books

In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life affirming novel goes to the center of human experience—the need for an interior, spiritual life; for some connections to the world in which we live; and for purity of vision.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An outstanding achievment." —Nadine Gordimer

"A major work of crystalline intensity." —Los Angeles Times

"So purifying to the senses that one comes away feeling that one's eye has been sharpened, one's hearing vivified." —The New York Times Book Review

The New York Times
Coetzee is a writer of clarifying inventiveness and translucent conviction....Mr. Coetzee's subdued yet urgent lament is for the sadness of a South Africa that has made dependents and parasites and prisoners of its own children, black and white....he discloses, in the language of imagination, the lumbering hoaxes and self-deceptions of stupidity. His theme is the wild and merciless power of inanity....For the sake of the innocent, time is Mr. Coetzee's hope. -- Cynthia Ozick
Charles McGrath
....As in his earlier Waiting for the Barbarians, Mr. Coetzee proves himself an absolute master of moral fiction. -- The New York Times Books of the Century

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140074482
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/15/2003
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
163,037
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 7.73(h) x 0.34(d)
Lexile:
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Nadine Gordimer
An outstanding achievement.
From the Publisher
"An outstanding achievment." —Nadine Gordimer

"A major work of crystalline intensity." —Los Angeles Times

"So purifying to the senses that one comes away feeling that one's eye has been sharpened, one's hearing vivified." —The New York Times Book Review

Meet the Author

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa’s highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Adelaide, Australia
Date of Birth:
February 9, 1940
Place of Birth:
Cape Town, South Africa
Education:
B.A., University of Cape Town, 1960; M.A., 1963; Ph.D. in Literature, University of Texas, Austin, 1969

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The Life and Times of Michael K 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
LIFE AND TIMES reminded me in many ways of two other books I¿ve recently come across: Hosseni¿s KITE RUNNER and another book called THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD, both of which are great and riveting. But this neat little book about a slow-witted man in civil-war torn South Africa will really make you think. Michael K is part Huck Finn, part Rodya from 'Crime and Punishment', part Gollum, and part Robinson Crusoe (and possibly, Josepf K from Kafka's 'The Trial'). He takes on a characteristic of each of those characters during his adventure to get his mother back to the land of her youth. He has an uncomfortable relationship with food, and his struggle to feed himself is very odd indeed. After reading this book, I felt that I should build a cabin for myself far away from everyone else and create my own environment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written at a time that Apartheid was still very strong, Coetzee gave a philosophical to life in that environment, which in this case is a surreal post-civil war South Africa with all the horrors that come with the aftermath of a civil war, especially an African civil war. However, Michael K. makes the effort to shield himself from the harshness of his environment by taking on a life of existential survival. In fact the lesson from this book applies to all environments or situations where society makes it difficult for a private person to live a personal life that is independent of the forces of the environment.
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