In the Heart of the Country
By J. M. Coetzee
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140062281, 144pp.)
Publication Date: October 28, 1982
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On a remote farm in South Africa, the protagonist of J. M. Coetzee's fierce and passionate novel watches the life from which she has been excluded. Ignored by her callous father, scorned and feared by his servants, she is a bitterly intelligent woman whose outward meekness disguises a desperate resolve not to become "one of the forgotten ones of history." When her father takes an African mistress, that resolve precipitates an act of vengeance that suggests a chemical reaction between the colonizer and the colonized—and between European yearnings and the vastness and solitude of Africa.
A story told in prose as feverishly rich as William Faulkner's, In the Heart of the Country is a work of irresistable power. With vast assurance and an unerring eye, J. M. Coetzee has turned the family romance into a mirror of the colonial experience.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa’s highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
"A realistic fable, at once stark, exciting, and economical." —The New York Times Book Review