Before deciding to read Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, I was stuck deciding between many other books. Normally, I’m intrigued by books that have to do with war or is about a main character who is going through war, and I always find myself reading those type of books. However, something about Disgrace caught my eye. It is different from what I normally read as I have never read a book in the past that is similar to this one. In this book, a professor named David Lurie has an affair with one of his students and this scandal is later revealed. Instead of owning up to his guilt, he resigns from the University and decides to visit his daughter named Lucy on her farm in Salem. Based off of the small description given on the back of the book as well as reviews I found online while researching what book to chose I thought I should give this book a try and to pick a book I would not normally read.
After reading 1/3 of the novel, I find it hard to predict what is going to happen in the book later. Sometimes throughout reading I thought to myself: Where is this book going? What is going on here? Is anything major going to happen to David and Lucy? What is the significance of David visiting Lucy? I had more questions than predictions of what is to come. So far, what I can predict is that David is going to learn something possibly life changing while visiting Lucy. He does struggle in life as he has been divorced twice, had an affair with a student and before that would spend his Thursday afternoons with a prostitute. Maybe throughout this journey, David is going to find himself, in a way that he will find a real purpose to life that is more important than what he is doing with his life right now.
Honestly, I found it hard to make some personal connections to this novel. While reading, I did not have anything stand out to me where I could say “Wow, that’s relatable”. However, on the last page, one line caught my eye. As Lucy and David are driving home, David starts bashing the farm she lives on. Lucy states “You think I ought to involve myself in more important things […] You think, because I am your daughter, I ought to be doing something better with my life.” (Coetzee 74) I found this interesting because I think a lot of teenagers can somewhat relate to this line, I know I can. Sometimes, parents can have their own idea of what their child should be focusing on and when we have a different path or view for our lives that is different from our parents, that’s when that difference of opinions and conflict can come in. That was the only connection I have had so far to this book.
So far, this book has not reminded me of any books I have read in the past. Like I said earlier, it is a different type of style from what I normally read so I haven’t been able to compare it to similar books or be reminded of books from this one. But with that being sad, I have only read 1/3 of it so maybe some connections to other books will be made later.
The author, J.M Coetzee is an intense writer. The book is written in third person, as he is the narrator. However, even though it is written in third person, sometimes it seems as if it is from the point of view of the main character, David because of how much knowledge there is of him. David’s feelings and thoughts are portrayed through the text greatly and I always know how he is feeling. With other characters, such as Lucy, we are not really given an insight as to how they feel but with David, it’s almost as if it’s being written from his view, which I find pretty cool. Here’s an example: “Demand. She means command. Her shrillness surprises him […] He puts down the telephone. A shadow of envy passes over him for the husband he has never seen.” (10) Coetzee tends to put what David thinks in italics which is a good way of showing the readers David’s thoughts. From this quotation, you are able to tell the thoughts and feelings from David.
After reading a third of the book, I have mixed feelings. It is a good book but I do find it difficult to relate and connect to it on some levels. It has left a good impression on me so far but I’m hoping the plot thickens as I get into the next section.