J. M. Coetzee is perhaps the most critically acclaimed bestselling author of imaginative fiction writing in English today. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003 and is the first writer to have been awarded two Booker Prizes. The present volume makes critical views of this important writer accessible to the general reader as well as the scholar, discussing Coetzee's main works in chronological order and introducing the dominant themes in the academic discussion of his oeuvre.
The volume highlights Coetzee's exceptionally nuanced approach to writing as both an exacting craft and a challenging moral-ethical undertaking. It discusses Coetzee's complex relation to apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, the land of his birth, and evaluates his complicated responses to the literary canon. Coetzee emerges as both a modernist and a highly self-aware postmodernist - a champion of the truths of a literary enterprise conducted unrelentingly in the mode of self-confession.
Contributors: Chris Ackerley, Derek Attridge, Carrol Clarkson, Simone Drichel, Johan Geertsema, David James, Michelle Kelly, Sue Kossew, Mike Marais, James Meffan, Tim Mehigan, Chris Prentice, Engelhard Weigl, Kim L. Worthington.
Tim Mehigan —
Tim Mehigan is Professorial Chair of German in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and Honorary Professor in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia.
A Companion to the works of J. M. Coetzee, ed. by Tim Mehigan. Camden House, 2011. 257p bibl index afp ISBN 1-57113-507-3; ISBN 9781571135070. Reviewed in 2012nov CHOICE.
This companion is an excellent introduction to the scope of Coetzee's work and a fine contribution to the wealth of scholarship about him. In his introduction, Mehigan (Univ. of Otago, New Zealand) skillfully and succinctly introduces Coetzee's life and work through 2009. Essays by Sue Kossew and Chris Ackerly follow, treating, respectively, Coetzee's trilogy of fictionalized memoirs, Scenes from Provincial Life, and Coetzee's stylistic indebtedness to Samuel Beckett, and effectively setting the stage for the remaining essays. Mehigan assembled a cast of established and emerging Coetzee scholars, and they offer probing and engaging discussions of individual works, from Dusklands (1974) through Diary of a Bad Year (2007). Carroll Clarkson's engaging discussion of Coetzee as literary critic concludes the volume. The collection includes an extensive bibliography. The volume will serve as a durable and reliable guide for readers at all levels.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. -- J. A. Miller, George Washington University