Sunday, 16 January 2011
Youth by J.M Coetzee
Only my second 1001 book of the year (with an aim of 40 I should be aiming for one every second or third read not leaving 5 books in between).
Coetzee is one of those authors I have a mixed relationship with, I hated Disgrace and disliked Amsterdamn but then really enjoyed Waiting for the Barbarians, and Elizabeth Costello I think I've read but I'm not 100% sure, so I went into Youth with some trepidation.
Youth is actually the second in a semi-autobiographical trilogy, but I didn't know that till I was half way through. However, I didn't feel like I was missing out too much as a rough sketch of his childhood was provided as I read through.
Youth follows John, a mathmatics student with more interest in poetry and saving up enough money to escape South Africa. When he finally escapes to England life is not what he imagines, the long hours, cold people and cold weather lead him to a life of seclusion. As well as his life in England and his love of poetry, we learn much about his desire for a woman. He seems to pick up along the way a number of unsuitable women (who all drop their pants immediately), he barely gets them back to his room before he and they have decided that it's all a bad idea, but it continues.
The novel had a really mellow feel to it, despite dramas, upsets and loneliness he accepts the world and the tension never builds. And, this creates a nice easy read, but one that is likely to leave me not remembering much, if any of the novel in a months time.