Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Poll

How often do you read for pleasure?

Only when I am not overloaded with school reading...which is pretty much never.
 65 (28.8%)
All the time! I make time!
 139 (61.5%)
I don't really like to read.
 22 (9.7%)

Total Members Voted: 191

Author Topic: What are you reading right now?  (Read 82825 times)

FossilJ

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #100 on: January 06, 2006, 05:54:18 PM »
Yes, I agree with your analysis, Maggs. True enough, as J says, that Coetzee is indifferent to those kinds of resolutions. My sense is that he is trying to reflect "white" south africans' ambivalence toward to 'New South Africa' - not particularly contrite, not particularly nostalgic... life just, sort of, goes on as everyone (or, at least, those who haven't moved to Australia) tries to figure out what's going on.

Then, again, you've overlooked the intense (and very personal, given Coetzee's own background) irony of this particular depiction.

The whole issue is so barren: as though this RSA experience is new to the world; as though these issues didn't play out in India or Kenya or Indonesia or in Algeria. It is a disease, particular to anglo-boer "south africans" that they feel themselves to be different in kind to the rest of us; their history and experiences, you see, are unique. Their pains are specific to them, never having been felt before. Perhaps it was the isolation of the embargo years that makes them feel this way.

This is true, in many ways.  In any case, it's irrelevant to the intent of this novel. 

By the way, what does "anglo-boer" mean?  As if this is some culturally hegemonic entity?

And while similar issues played out all over the world, nowhere else was it so recent and so complicated.  Apartheid isn't the same colonialism that died out over the rest of the world before the late 1960s.

No matter: if Disgrace were for a domestic audience, for the suburban housewives of Durban to read while their maids cleaned the house, I can imagine that there would be some merit in it: the frisson of recognition (the ugly black rapist, etc), but for the rest of us, for an international audience that knows better, that has more distance from the emotions involved, there needs to be a literary payoff. J is allowing me some discretion in choosing my own tastes, and I am excercising it by saying that narcissism, stick figures, and lack of style just doesn't do it for me.

I'll give you narcissism, and I'll give you lack of style.  "Stick figures" is a ridiculous caricature that you still have not substantiated.


In order to see clearly what is small about Coetzee, contrast his work with another author who took on the place where he is from: Marquez.

And I fully agree that Marquez is a far better writer than Coetzee.

Go 'boks!

I'd agree, only I'm a realist.   :D

Actually, things aren't looking too bad this year.
Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

magnumalv

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #101 on: January 06, 2006, 05:55:16 PM »
redacted

redemption

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #102 on: January 06, 2006, 06:00:01 PM »
Oh, and I deny that a South African necessarily has a better grasp of the politics there than a non-South African. But, that's just an aside.

We should hand this thread back y'all - nobody cares about Coetzee. Fantasy books are more fun.

And I'd agree with that.  But I chose to study the country rather than fall under the same cultural indoctrinations that plagued most of my family and friends.


I have lived in Africa, including in RSA. I have worked on HIV there, including at rape crisis centers. I have been robbed on the street in Jo'burg. I have seen how the narcissism of minor differences that allows south africans to hold on to their "imaginary community". Does this make me better qualified to read Coetzee and to understand him? It shouldn't. I have never been to Colombia, and yet GGM has taken me there. That is what makes for a great writer. In my humble opinion, of course.

There is an interesting book yet to be written about the experience of the white south african diaspora - the sense of culpability that they feel, and the legacy that the apartheid era has left on their childre. The push-pull of wanting to be identified as south african, and yet trying to distance themselves from the history would be interesting. It would have to be different, though, from the German fiction that has done this...

skaiserbrown

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #103 on: January 06, 2006, 06:08:58 PM »
yes, that was what i was saying, sax.

redemption

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #104 on: January 06, 2006, 06:22:46 PM »
Oh, and I deny that a South African necessarily has a better grasp of the politics there than a non-South African. But, that's just an aside.

We should hand this thread back y'all - nobody cares about Coetzee. Fantasy books are more fun.

And I'd agree with that.  But I chose to study the country rather than fall under the same cultural indoctrinations that plagued most of my family and friends.


I have lived in Africa, including in RSA. I have worked on HIV there, including at rape crisis centers. I have been robbed on the street in Jo'burg. I have seen how the narcissism of minor differences that allows south africans to hold on to their "imaginary community". Does this make me better qualified to read Coetzee and to understand him? It shouldn't. I have never been to Colombia, and yet GGM has taken me there. That is what makes for a great writer. In my humble opinion, of course.

Once again, what do you mean by "community"?  Because, depending on your definition, we may be agreed. 

Besides, I agree with the gist of this comment.  However, I am white, male, and South African.  Does this make me more qualified to understand Coetzee?  In some ways, probably. 

Your criticism of the universality of his message is valid.  However, I don't see how "taking me somewhere else" equals "good writing".  There's a lot more to it than that.

There is an interesting book yet to be written about the experience of the white south african diaspora - the sense of culpability that they feel, and the legacy that the apartheid era has left on their childre. The push-pull of wanting to be identified as south african, and yet trying to distance themselves from the history would be interesting. It would have to be different, though, from the German fiction that has done this...

Here we are completely and utterly in agreement.  In fact, this is what I hope to accomplish as a writer.  I'm very glad you made this point.  100 insight points to you.  hahahaha

(I'm being serious, though.   :))


I wrote that last part just for you, J. I could feel the vibe. You should do it. Maybe in 3L

FossilJ

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #105 on: January 06, 2006, 06:24:29 PM »
Well, I know you were being a little sarcastic, but I wasn't.  There really is a book in that. 

3L, though?  @#!*, I hope I don't have to wait that long!   :D
Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

redemption

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #106 on: January 06, 2006, 06:28:10 PM »
Well, I know you were being a little sarcastic, but I wasn't.  There really is a book in that. 

3L, though?  @#!*, I hope I don't have to wait that long!   :D


I wasn't being sarcastic at all. People who like books are rare. Every one of us should try to write one. I kept on about the "imaginary community" thing because I could tell that you had (ambivalent) feelings about it. You should do it, seriously. Read the German stuff, though, first, if you haven't already.

skaiserbrown

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #107 on: January 06, 2006, 06:34:37 PM »
because smarter people than you showed up.

 :-*

redemption

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #108 on: January 06, 2006, 06:35:20 PM »
Sorry. Hijacked for a bit. Now officially been handed back to discussion of picture books.

skaiserbrown

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Re: What are you reading right now?
« Reply #109 on: January 06, 2006, 06:35:41 PM »
Sorry. Hijacked for a bit. Now officially been handed back to discussion of picture books.

 :D :D :D :D