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At the end, when it s time to cross over, what form will the angel take And will you still see it all clearly Mrs Curren lives alone in South Africa Her husband left her many years ago and has since died Her daughter left too, gone to America, promising never to return to the troubled land So Mrs Curren is quite alone when she finds out she has cancer and will soon die That same day, she finds a vagrant outside her house, reeking of urine and decay, sleeping off a drunk under plastic and At the end, when it s time to cross over, what form will the angel take And will you still see it all clearly Mrs Curren lives alone in South Africa Her husband left her many years ago and has since died Her daughter left too, gone to America, promising never to return to the troubled land So Mrs Curren is quite alone when she finds out she has cancer and will soon die That same day, she finds a vagrant outside her house, reeking of urine and decay, sleeping off a drunk under plastic and cardboard.So, Mrs Curren writes a long letter to her daughter, a real time letter mostly, a four movement symphony in a minor key She invites the vagrant, Mr Vercueil, into her home He will test her, with his foul smell, his alcoholism, his bluntness but he promises, reluctantly, and not convincingly, that he will mail the letter after she is gone.Mrs Curren writes We embrace to be embraced.And Mrs Curren writes We sicken before we die so that we will be weaned from our bodies.And Heaven I imagine heaven as a hotel lobby with a high ceiling and the Art of Fugue coming softly over the public address system Where one can sit in a deep leather armchair and be without pain A hotel lobby full of old people dozing, listening to the music, while souls pass and repass before them like vapors, the souls of all A place dense with souls Clothed Yes, clothed, I suppose but with empty hands A place to which you bring nothing but an abstract kind of clothing and the memories inside you, the memories that make you A place without incident A railway station after the abolition of trains Listening to the heavenly unending music, waiting for nothing, paging idly through the store of memories.So, if Bach is played in heaven, what about I am afraid of going to hell and having to listen to Die stemfor all eternity I think I was about eleven years old when my teacher wrote the word Thanksgiving on the blackboard how appropriately seasonal of me and instructed us to take 15 minutes and try to write down all the words we could create out of the letters in that large word You know, like thank, thanks, in, giving, etc Now it turns out that like all great idiot savants I can do one thing unusually well It would have been nice if my talent was playing the piano or memorizing playing cards in blackjack But no, my talent was creating words out of the letters of Thanksgiving Not exactly the kind of cocktail party trick which can get one laid I had filled several pages when the time ended Instead of praise, however, the teacher was genuinely pissed and accused me of cheating Which, I thought un Christian of Sister Mary William I ll bet she hated Rainman, if she ever got to watch it.I mention this personal quirk because, although good perhaps at that one useless thing, I fairly suck at anagrams Coetzee asks the reader to consider anagrams for three characters Mrs Curren, Mr Vercueil, and Mr Thabane I came up blank, so any help that someone good at anagramming can render would be appreciated I do know that at one point Coetzee dashes off words made from Vercueil which are apt and no coincidence live, cure, veil I liked that I ve read other works of Coetzee, including his Booker winning Disgrace, but was largely underwhelmed.This, though This is good Is JM Coetzee even capable of writing a single imperfect word Not as far as I can see He,than almost any other writer, makes me want to be a writer, makes me believe in the power of fiction but he also,than almost any other writer, makes me double back upon myself in fear because I know I will never have the kind of wisdom and precision that he writes into his books.I want to read every word he has ever written. If Coetzee s Disgrace is at least partly a meditation on the title word, this earlier novel seems to be partly a musing on the word stupefy Television the parade of politicians every evening their message stupidly unchanging Their feat, after years of etymological meditation on the word, to have raised stupidity to a virtue To stupefy to deprive of feeling to benumb, deaden to stun with amazement Stupid dulled in the faculties, indifferent, destitute of thought or feeling If Coetzee s Disgrace is at least partly a meditation on the title word, this earlier novel seems to be partly a musing on the word stupefy Television the parade of politicians every evening their message stupidly unchanging Their feat, after years of etymological meditation on the word, to have raised stupidity to a virtue To stupefy to deprive of feeling to benumb, deaden to stun with amazement Stupid dulled in the faculties, indifferent, destitute of thought or feeling From stupere to be stunned, astounded A gradient from stupid to stunned to astonished, to be turned to stone A message that turns people to stone Boars that devour their offspring The Boar War.The almost unnamed narrator seeming to be a forerunner of Coetzee s later alter ego Elizabeth Costello rails against stupefaction and fights it from within, but realizes its inevitability as she increasingly needsandpills to numb the pain of her cancer.Her inner journey is a Dantean one, though we are also taken into an actual inferno The relevance of young teenage boys dying at the hands of Authority was not lost on me She is our Virgil, but she has her own Virgil, whose appearance on the day she receives the bad news from her doctor she takes as a sign.She is wordy She knows her Latin and ancient Roman history she wonders about possible anagrams of the names of battles and medications as she falls into temporary stupor Borodino, Diconal I stare at the words Are they anagrams They look like anagrams But for what, and in what languageBorodino an anagram for Come back in some language or other Diconal I call The dialogue she reports seems unrealistic in its wordiness, but the conceit of the whole novel a letter to her daughter, living in North America covers that possible flaw Though I haven t read all of Coetzee, I wonder if this is perhaps his most straightforward novel Coetzee at his best Mrs Curren is a typical Coetzee character a person at a point in life tht has forced him or her to be introspective and discover that word around them is full of mindless violence and hypocrisies The result is a Hamlet like paralysis.Since Mrs Curren is dying, death gets its bit of focus in her thoughts.Like with Foe and Disgrace, the guilt of belonging to a race that has been oppressors for generations is present.But what distinguishes Coetzee from other authors writin Coetzee at his best Mrs Curren is a typical Coetzee character a person at a point in life tht has forced him or her to be introspective and discover that word around them is full of mindless violence and hypocrisies The result is a Hamlet like paralysis.Since Mrs Curren is dying, death gets its bit of focus in her thoughts.Like with Foe and Disgrace, the guilt of belonging to a race that has been oppressors for generations is present.But what distinguishes Coetzee from other authors writing on such themes is his refusal to sentimentalise or mysterise the issues to extent of turning it into a liberal kitsch Television Why do I watch it The parade of politicians every evening I have only to see the heavy, blank faces so familiar since childhood to feel gloom and nausea The bullies in the last row of school desks, raw boned, lumpish boys, grown up now and promoted to rule the land They with their fathers and mothers, their aunts and uncles, their brothers and sisters a locust horde, a plague of black locusts infesting the country, munching without cease, devouring lives Why, in a spirit of hor Television Why do I watch it The parade of politicians every evening I have only to see the heavy, blank faces so familiar since childhood to feel gloom and nausea The bullies in the last row of school desks, raw boned, lumpish boys, grown up now and promoted to rule the land They with their fathers and mothers, their aunts and uncles, their brothers and sisters a locust horde, a plague of black locusts infesting the country, munching without cease, devouring lives Why, in a spirit of horror and loathing, do I watch them Why do I let them into the house Because the reign of the locust family is the truth of South Africa, and the truth is what makes me sick Legitimacy they no longer trouble to claim Reason they have shrugged off What absorbs them is power and the stupor of power Eating and talking, munching lives, belching Slow, heavy bellied talk Sitting in a circle, debating ponderously, issuing decrees like hammer blows death, death, death Untroubled by the stench Heavy eyelids, piggish eyes, shrewd with the shrewdness of generations of peasants Plotting against each other too slow peasant plots that take decades to mature An early novel in Coetzee s list of achievements, Age of Iron, depicts the author s distaste for apartheid, the revolution against it, and gives prescient hints of what was to come of South Africa after Mandela Coetzee has always seemed to this reader an idealist, harping eloquently against human imperfections and the flawed institutions created by such faulty people But he s always seemed to know this about himself, and he s made obvious attempts in his fiction to resolve this inner conflict An early novel in Coetzee s list of achievements, Age of Iron, depicts the author s distaste for apartheid, the revolution against it, and gives prescient hints of what was to come of South Africa after Mandela Coetzee has always seemed to this reader an idealist, harping eloquently against human imperfections and the flawed institutions created by such faulty people But he s always seemed to know this about himself, and he s made obvious attempts in his fiction to resolve this inner conflict In Age of Iron, such contradictions couldn t beapparent His protagonist here is a Mrs Curren, a former classics professor suffering a terminal case of cancer, who has always looked down on both apartheid and the struggle against it from her academic ivory tower Now, however, the mud and blood of the struggle grasp her personally, and they won t let go Her housekeeper, Florence, has a young son, Bheki, who has involved himself in the revolution s rising violence He disappears and Mrs Curren offers to help Florence find him This takes them into a poor black community that is being burned out by the police, as if to exterminate rats Bheki has been shot dead, they quickly discover, and Mrs Curren now faces the life and death reality of the struggle Too, she s seen as unwelcome in that place, both by the white policemen and the poor black residents She begins to realize a suppressed alienation rising to her surface, an alienation that allows her no emotional refuge from either the social conflict or her disease Then there s Vercueil an alcoholic hobo and, if he can be believed, an ex trawler sailor who was hurt in a shipboard accident, rendering him unable to work He becomes Mrs Curren s alter ego, a sometimes mute sounding board, who is willing to help her end her lifewilling that she is, however.To Mrs Curren, she and the likes of other whites in South Africa are floss, mere visitors hovering over the African soil Florence, Bheki, and their kind are a kinf of iron fragile of body, but ofdurable stuff soul wise This then is Coetzee s metaphor that the most durable souls seem to be the most set upon in the flesh This book doesn t take sides in the struggle to throw off apartheid instead it summons us to the view that South Africa could have been saved at one time, but now, with the first shots having been fired, it s too late for all that.If there s one flaw to the book it s the diminished role of Vercueil He could have played the truth dealing drunkard to Mrs Curren s indignation, her ivory towered view of life in that torn country He has moments of this, to be sure, but he could have been much This has been described as a novel about love that exceeds boundaries It is also a lament on death and dying and the grief a mother feels at her daughter s decision to leave South Africa until the rulers of the apartheid state are swinging by their necks from the lamp posts The novel starts on the day Mrs Curren is told that she has terminal cancer The cancer becomes a metaphor for a country that has lost it humanity.At the outset Mrs Curren is oblivious to the extent of the cancer When she This has been described as a novel about love that exceeds boundaries It is also a lament on death and dying and the grief a mother feels at her daughter s decision to leave South Africa until the rulers of the apartheid state are swinging by their necks from the lamp posts The novel starts on the day Mrs Curren is told that she has terminal cancer The cancer becomes a metaphor for a country that has lost it humanity.At the outset Mrs Curren is oblivious to the extent of the cancer When she does venture into the underworld, it is analogous to Virgil s Aeneid and she sees a Dantesque vision of hell Another great masterpiece written by J.M Coetzee.4 Disgrace4 Waiting for the Barbarians3 A Ilha4 The Master of Petersburg3 Slow Man3 Elizabeth Costello3 Foe4 Age of IronTR DusklandsTR YouthTR BoyhoodTR Life and Times of Michael KTR SummertimeTR Siete cuentos morales TR The Schooldays of Jesus {READ EBOOK} Ì Epoca de fier ä Epoca de fier, considerat nCartea anului n Marea Britanie de Sunday Express, mplete te cu subtilitate i umor re inut tragedia personal cu dramatismul unei epoci marcate n Africa de Sud de rasism i de violen e sociale i politice Doamna Curren, o fost profesoar de limbi clasice, sufer de cancer n faz terminal ntr o scrisoare jurnal, adresat fiicei ei plecate demult n America, eroina i descrie noua condi ie, ce o mpinge spre reconsiderarea propriei vie i, pe fundalul unei realit i fa de care, f r a o fi ignorat, a preferat s se p streze ntr o pasivitate filozofic p n n acel moment ororile apartheidului Str duindu se s i accepte boala care o macin , doamna Curren descoper cu disperare i m nie cresc nde cancerul social i cultural al Africii de Sud Incendierea unei a ez ri locuite de negri, uciderea unor activi ti adolescen i, abuzurile i brutalitatea poli iei i armatei, furia i revolta compun o plas tot mai str ns n jurul eroinei, aduc nd violen ele p n n pragul casei sale Episoadele dramatice iau amploa re pe m sur ce degradarea fizic a doamnei Curren se accentueaz , f c nd o tot mai dependent de Vercueil, un om al str zii be iv care i a f cut culcu pe aleea ei Vercueil i devine singura fiin uman apropiat , iar rela ia dintre cei doi este surprins magistral de Coetzee I always seem to be moved by Coetzee from page 1 onwards, because as no other author he knows how to bring to life the fragility of human life, of human institutions and of civilization.We see the elder Mrs Curren, a former teacher of classic languages the summum of civilization arriving home, on the day she has been told she has terminal cancer she stumbles upon a shabby homeless man near her house, and at first tries to drive him out, but in a fatalistic mood comes to tolerate him around a I always seem to be moved by Coetzee from page 1 onwards, because as no other author he knows how to bring to life the fragility of human life, of human institutions and of civilization.We see the elder Mrs Curren, a former teacher of classic languages the summum of civilization arriving home, on the day she has been told she has terminal cancer she stumbles upon a shabby homeless man near her house, and at first tries to drive him out, but in a fatalistic mood comes to tolerate him around and even adopt him as a kind of guardian angel This storyline is interwooven with that of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa as far as I know it s the first time Coetzee explicitly mentions apartheid in his novels , in which she becomes involved through the son of her black maid Both in the former and the latter storyline all certainties disappear, and with Mrs Curren we must come to the conclusion that there are no real, unequivocal answers to the spiral in which an individual life that of mrs Curren or a country South Africa is pulled downward Unless, perhaps, a little human warmth, a little civilty, a little humanity.THis is not the best work of Coetzee, because a bit too preachy and not quite realistic in the monologues of Mrs Curren But even though the apartheidsregime has been gone forthan 20 years now, the issues Coetzee deals with regarding humanity and barbarism remain alas quite up to date