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Stranger Shores

This volume gathers together for the first time in book form twenty-nine pieces on books, writing, photography and the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Stranger Shores opens with 'What is a classic?' in which Coetzee explores the answer to his own question "What does it mean in living terms to say that the classic is what survives?' - by way of T. S. Eliot, Johann Sebastian Bach and Zbigniew Herbert. His subjects range from the great eighteenth and nineteenth-century writers Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson and Ivan Turgenev, to the great German modernists Rilke, Kafka and Musil, to the giants of late twentieth-century literature, among them Harry Mulisch, Joseph Brodsky, Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Amos Oz, Naguib Mahfouz, Nadine Gordimer and Doris Lessing.
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A superb collection of essays by an author who has won the Booker Prize twice.

About the Author

J.M. Coetzee's work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.


Coetzee (Waiting for the Barbarians) is one of South Africa's major novelists. In this collection of 26 essays, many of them first published in the New York Review of Books, he gives careful, fair-minded, and nuanced readings of many different authors. Coetzee is especially concerned and attentive to questions of translation and the craft of the novelist. Dutch authors (Marcellus Emants and Harry Mulisch) are insightfully covered, as are African authors (Nadine Gordimer and Breyten Breytenbach). The essays on European writers Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, and Robert Musil and on Middle Eastern authors Aharon Appelfeld, Amos Oz, and Naguib Mahfouz reveal Coetzee's great insights in history, politics, and the relationships of literature to culture and society. Finally, a review of Noel Mostert's epic Frontiers powerfully depicts the harsh history of South Africa. Coetzee honestly states his agreements and differences with the authors he reviews. Recommended for literature collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/01.] Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"The scale of Coetzee's reading makes most British criticism seem dully provincial" -- Andrew Marr * Daily Telegraph * "To read him on Kafka and on the deficiencies of the English translation of the work is to be put in touch with criticism at its most attentive and creative" * Irish Indepedent * "This is exemplary writing - balanced, clear, direct and profound" * Literary Review * "'What is a Classic?' a marvellous essay, and the book is worth buying for it alone. Coetzee the critic is every bit as good as Coetzee the novelist" * Irish Times *

Tackling works by Rushdie, Naguib Mahfouz, Doris Lessing, Borges and A.S. Byatt, Stranger Shores: Literary Essays collects critical work by South African author and two-time Booker-winner J.M. Coetzee. Coetzee posits in "What Is a Classic" that "[c]riticism... is duty-bound to interrogate the classic" and thereby "may be what the classic uses to define itself and ensure its survival." None of these thoughtful, deft and erudite essays, all but one of which were previously published, land heavily or obviously (if at all) on any side of a literary, critical or political issue like Coetzee's poised fiction. (Aug. 27) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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