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.


Anonymous said...

I think Ian McEwan wrote Amsterdam? For some reasons I love Disgrace but can't get into The life and time of Michael K. So I am feel a bit trepidation now if I should pick up his other books or not. having said that, he is intriguing.

JoV who has got nothing much to do but wrote reviews this weekend.

Vivienne said...

I read Summertime by Coetzee which is further on in the series from Youth. Don't remember much about that one either and definitely didn't want to read the rest of the series.

katrina said...

Yeah Amsterdam is McEwan, dislike it so much can't remember the author.
Think I've read Summertime too...cover seems familiar :) maybe i read too many books or my memory is just terrible