Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians

4.7 15
by J. M. Coetzee
     
 

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For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy for the victims, and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison.  See more details below

Overview

For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy for the victims, and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I have known few authors who can evoke such a wilderness in the heart of man. He is an artist of a weight and depth that put him beyond ordinary comparisons...Coetzee knows the elusive terror of Kafka." — Sunday Times
The New York Times
'Waiting for the Barbarians is a distinguished piece of fiction, and what Mr. Coetzee has gained from his strategy of creating an imaginary Empire is clear. But are there perhaps losses too? One possible loss is the bite and pain, the urgency that a specified historical place and time may provide. To create a ''universalized'' Empire is to court the risk - especially among sophisticated readers for whom the credos of modernism have become dull axioms -that a narrative with strong political and social references will be ''elevated'' into sterile ruminations about the human condition....I cannot believe this was Mr. Coetzee's intention or, perhaps more important, that it is warranted by his novel itself. True, the Empire is abstract, timeless, placeless; but through the scrim of Empire, 'Waiting for the Barbarians renders a moment in our politics, a style of our injustice. Precisely this power of historical immediacy gives the novel its thrust, its larger and, if you wish, ''universal'' value. -- Irving Howe
Bernard Levin
I have known few authors who can evoke such a wilderness in the heart of a man….Mr. Coetzee knows the elusive terror of Kafka.
The Sunday Times (London)
Charles McGrath
....A power of historical immediacy gives this novel its thrust, its larger and, if you wish, universal value. -- The New York Times Books of the Century

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099465935
Publisher:
Random House UK
Publication date:
10/04/2004
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
1,232,405
Product dimensions:
5.02(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.45(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A real literary event" —Irving Howe, The New York Times Book Review (front-page review)

"I have known few authors who can evoke such a wilderness in the heart of a man.... Mr. Coetzee knows the elusive terror of Kafka." —Bernard Levin, The Sunday Times (London)

Meet the Author

J. M. COETZEE’s work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.

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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