Wednesday, November 3, 2010

J.M. Coetzee - Elizabeth Costello

In J. M. Coetzee's novel, Elizabeth Costello is a aging Australian writer, famous for a book she'd written years ago and now traveling the lecture circuit, although she's a poor public speaker. Through her speeches and interactions with her family members, Elizabeth Costello is more of a series of essays contained within a fictional outline. Coetzee examines themes such as animal rights, the Holocaust, humanism, rationalism, as well as how a writer imparts his beliefs through his fiction. Nominated for the Booker Prize, The Telegraph says of this novel, "In the end, as his heroine confronts death, he has been able to raise the deepest questions through some fictional safeguards -- without settling on answers, or defending all the arguments as his. But this is fine, because the attentive reader will have been badly jolted. It is why Coetzee is famous: Elizabeth Costello is no cheap shock. It is a serious one."

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