Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee
New York : Viking Press, 1984. First American Edition. Hardcover. 184 pages ; 21 cm. $13.95 dust jacket unclipped. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
Life & Times of Michael K
From the highly acclaimed author of Waiting for the Barbarians—Railed by The Washington Post as "a novel beyond the ordinary" and chosen as one of the Best Books of1982 by The New York Times-comes a major novel of extraordinary power.
J. M. Coetzee takes us into the world of Michael K, a young man unwillingly caught up in a war in South Africa.
At the age of thirty-one, Michael loses his job as a gardener for the city of Cape Town, and promises to take his ailing mother back to her hometown of Prince Albert. On the way there she dies, leaving Michael completely alone. He takes refuge on a deserted farm, living off the land "by the rising and setting of the sun in a pocket outside time." When the farm is invaded by an army deserter, Michael, flees into the mountains, where he is apprehended and taken to a resettlement camp. Unable to bear confinement, Michael escapes, returning to the land he had begun to cultivate, building for himself the simplest of shelters. But once again, his universe disintegrates, when, suspected of aiding guerrillas, he is sent to a rehabilitation camp run by men intent on "effecting a change in men's souls." Michael, finding imprisonment intolerable, slips out of the camp hospital and returns to Cape Town, and some sort of freedom.
In this compelling yet simple story, written in beautiful, spare prose, J. M. Coetzee 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.
J. M. COETZEE was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1940 and was educated in South Africa and the United States. He is now Professor of General Literature at the University of Cape Town. The author of Waiting for the Barbarians, hi the Heart of the Country, and Dusklands, he has received a number of literary prizes, including South Africa's most prestigious literary award, the CNA, in both 1977 and 1980.
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