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Date finished: May 31, 2017

Rating: ★★★★

Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee

“I am sunk into a state of disgrace from which it will not be easy to lift myself. It is not a punishment I have refused. I do not murmur against it. On the contrary, I am living it out from day to day, trying to accept disgrace as my state of being.”

Coetzee has a way of writing and describing the human existence that is utterly breathtaking. None of his characters are beautiful people, and they are all flawed and scarred in the deepest ways, but Coetzee puts the reader inside them. For a moment you are David taking advantage of a young woman. In the next you are Lucy trying to fathom how to continue existing after you’ve been used beyond repair.

This was not a happy novel, and it has no happy ending, but it leaves you with thoughts and questions about yourself and the people who surround you. Though we’re meant to hate David at the novel’s outset, Coetzee shows us that even the most hateful people have lives, souls, feelings, emotions, and families. Though Lucy knows her father is not a good person, they do the best they can for one another in their respective states of disgrace.

Well written and deeply affecting.

Photo courtesy Getty Images

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