Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670021383, 272pp.
Publication Date: December 24, 2009
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.
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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