Disgrace

Publisher: Vintage Books
After years teaching Romantic poetry at the Technical University of Cape Town, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, has an impulsive affair with a student. The affair sours; he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. Willing to admit his guilt, but refusing to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to his daughter Lucy's isolated farm. For a time, his daughter's influence and the natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonize his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. He and Lucy become victims of a savage and disturbing attack which brings into relief all the faults in their relationship. Chilling, uncompromising and unforgettable, Disgrace is a masterpiece.

READ AN EXCERPT

Without the Thursday interludes the week is as featureless as a desert. There are days when he does not know what to do with himself.

He spends more time in the university library, reading all he can find on the wider Byron circle, adding to notes that already fill two fat files. He enjoys the late-afternoon quiet...
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READING GUIDE

1. Consider the nihilistic vision supported by Lurie and every other character in Disgrace, perhaps with the exception of Lucy. Is there any hope of reconciliation between different ethnicities, sexes or even members of the same family?

2. After the brutal attack, the novels themes become clear. Consider...

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PRAISE FOR

"The richness of Disgrace lies in the elegant and allegorical role reversals, the spare symbolism of the language and in the characterization. We may not like David Lurie, but in Coetzee's skillful hands we can't dismiss him without pity." -- The Globe and Mail

"Coetzee is able to dissect the human psyche with a surgeon's touch." -- The Hamilton Spectator

"Marvellous." -- The National Post

"Disgrace is a subtle, multilayered story, as much concerned with politics as it is with the itch of male flesh. Coetzee's prose is chaste and lyrical -- it is a relief to encounter writing as quietly stylish as this." -- Independent

"Disgrace is at the frontier of world literature." -- Sunday Telegraph

"J.M. Coetzee's vision goes to the nerve-centre of being. What he finds there is more than most people will ever know about themselves, and he conveys it with a brilliant writer's mastery of tension and elegance." -- Nadine Gordimer