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Life and Times of Michael K: A Novel
by J. M. Coetzee
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A review of this — 7 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

I didn’t like this book and I do not see the point of it. Near the end, the main character, Michael K, questions whether the moral of the story is that there is time for everything. But if that is the moral of this story, then it wasn’t clear a all. Michael K has nothing but time, but he doesn’t do anything. He seems incapable of doing anything. He cannot cope with living in any kind of society; nor does he succeed in living on his own in the wilderness.

Read literally, the book is horribly depressing, because Michael seems to be mentally ill or mentally deficient (because he cannot provide for himself and he has no will to survive), but no one is able to help him. Read symbolically, I just don’t get it. If Michael is supposed to represent some greater meaning, as the doctor/narrator suggests in the second part of the book, what is that meaning? The book doesn’t answer that question.

A story about this — 8 years ago

First novel I’ve read by the Nobel prize winning author; Michael K is a man who in the midst of the South African civil war, goes back to a primitive state for a while. Metaphorically challenging; Michael K could be Coetzee’s way of showing the triumph of the noble savage, but Michael K is no happier than the people oppressed by industrial war. Need to read some criticism.


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