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Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life by J. M. Coetzee
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014026566X, Paperback)Until writing this book, the author of Waiting for the Barbarians and other acclaimed novels has remained determinedly private about the personal experiences that sparked his writing. In Boyhood, describing his youth in the third person, J. M. Coetzee limns the halting struggle toward maturity of a sensitive, bookish boy contemptuous of his weak father who yearns--and fears--to loosen a powerful attachment to his mother. He evokes the narrowness and cruelty of South African society in the years following World War II with the same austere yet passionate prose that distinguishes his fiction.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)
Coetzee has been reluctant to talk about himself. Now, revisiting the South Africa of a half century ago, he writes about his childhood and his own interior life. Boyhood's young narrator grew up in a new development north of Cape Town, tormented by guilt and fear. With a father he did not respect, and a mother he both adored and resented, he led a double life - at school the brilliant and well-behaved student, at home the princely despot, always terrified of losing his mother's love. His first encounters with literature, the awakenings of sexual desire, and a growing awareness of apartheid left him with baffling questions; and only in his love of the veld ("farms are places of freedom, of life") could he find a sense of belonging. Bold and telling, this masterly evocation of a young boy's life is the book Coetzee's many admirers have been waiting for, but never could have expected.
(summary from another edition)
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