Disgrace

Posted: 29/03/2015 in Books

This is the second book of J M Coetzee’s I have read, the previous one was “Waiting for Barbarians”. I found that book interesting because of the lasting impression as to the way it attacked apartheid from within; in truth I can’t now remember how he did that though.

My brother’s ex also flagged this book – not surprising she was born in South Africa so there is a common link there – I have not read all her choices.

I found the book interesting to read – read it in 2 days. The themes of academia, relationships with students, the daughter living near Grahamstown strike chord. I have an “Old Man story” about my car breaking down in King Williams Town. I have very little sympathy with the character, David Lourie. To me he appears an academic who has had every opportunity to learn and has avoided most. Typically intellectual he lurches from one situation to another applying his arrogance and ignorance. I would love to think that was the purpose of the author but sadly I fear not as too often I feel the author is sympathetic.

There is another theme close to my heart or another part of the body, the power of sexual desire in men. As a Buddhist that desire is part of desire in general that causes suffering – 4NT, but he describes a Kenilworth dog who gets beaten every time he expresses sexual interest until in the end he “beats himself” for his desire. Without women understanding, is this not the male condition? There is no excuse for violence against women, rape or any of the extreme sex-crimes, but without empathy for what men have to deal with sexual relations can never be resolved.

The character Lourie sees himself as a bad man, and he is as he has no aspirations to nobility – as is the norm, but his actions throughout are simply “normal”. It is perhaps sad that he is so normal given that he is an intellectual, how close intellectuals are to the Path of Intelligence I never know but intellect of course is a big barrier to truth.

This book did not have ennobling in its spine, I would like that as a characteristic of books I read.

Zandtaometer – Disgrace
Readability
Personal Growth
Sociopolitical Awareness
Ennobling

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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Comments
  1. zandtao says:

    I feel embarrassed whenever I write something like this:-

    “There is another theme close to my heart or another part of the body, the power of sexual desire in men. As a Buddhist that desire is part of desire in general that causes suffering – 4NT, but he describes a Kenilworth dog who gets beaten every time he expresses sexual interest until in the end he “beats himself” for his desire. Without women understanding, is this not the male condition? There is no excuse for violence against women, rape or any of the extreme sex-crimes, but without empathy for what men have to deal with sexual relations can never be resolved.”

    When I hear of abuse against women I feel shame at my gender, how they can do such things; I get particularly angry at what I perceive is the exploitation happening in our institutions of higher education But when I look at “normal” relationships I do not see equality. But in truth on most occasions I see acceptance of roles in which the men accept the direction of women, and I also see the willingness of the men to accept this.

    But it is not always the case.

  2. naivelysage says:

    I remember King Williams Town. You say that you prefer books to be ‘ennobling’. I do also, I like to come away feel better for having read a book, but it’s a big ask for a work of fiction and I wonder if the attempt by an author to ‘ennoble’ would be detrimental to the novel. Sometimes a confrontation with the darkness that’s in us is what we need to shake us out of comfortable illusions. The issues of desire and sexual relationships are complex, people are driven by these to different degrees but we are all driven. What makes things worse is when we beat ourselves up or beat others over our desires. Ultimately it is the unkindness to ourselves and others over perceived failings that is our biggest problem.

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