By J. M. Coetzee
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670021383, 272pp.)
Publication Date: December 24, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize
A brilliant new work of fiction from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year
A young English biographer is researching a book about the late South African writer John Coetzee, focusing on Coetzee in his thirties, at a time when he was living in a rundown cottage in the Cape Town suburbs with his widowed father-a time, the biographer is convinced, when Coetzee was finding himself as a writer. Never having met the man himself, the biographer interviews five people who knew Coetzee well, including a married woman with whom he had an affair, his cousin Margot, and a Brazilian dancer whose daughter took English lessons with him. These accounts add up to an image of an awkward, reserved, and bookish young man who finds it hard to make meaningful connections with the people around him.
Summertime is an inventive and inspired work of fiction that allows J.M. Coetzee to imagine his own life with a critical and unsparing eye, revealing painful moral struggles and attempts to come to grips with what it means to care for another human being. Incisive, elegant, and often surprisingly funny, Summertime is a compelling work by one of today's most esteemed writers.
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.
Alan Cheuse reviews the newest novel by the Nobel Prize-winning South African author J.M. Coetzee. Summertime is a pseudo-biographical novel based on interviews conducted by an imaginary biographer about the life of a writer named John Coetzee. More at NPR.org
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