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Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life (1997)

by J. M. Coetzee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Coetzee's Scenes from Provincial Life (1)

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9882616,042 (3.89)25
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.… (more)
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    Youth by J. M. Coetzee (zasmine)
    zasmine: The next in the autobiographical series by Coetzee
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» See also 25 mentions

English (17)  Spanish (5)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Make note to learn something about South African history and culture. It does the reader no favours to be as ignorant as I while reading this.

Underline note of some years ago to read Disgrace. Watched twice, but still not read. Boyhood has given me an idea as to how one might understand the odd scenario of that book, woman raped by black men and consequently pregnant, determines to become the 3rd wife of one of the rapists. Perhaps this will afford her some degree of safety and the possibility of staying in her home…though it will no longer be her home. We are given to believe that the woman is doing this as penance for being white. It is her necessary apology.

Here in Boyhood, there is much discussion of the difference between groups, including the Coloured people who are part of his life in a mysterious and uncomfortable way. Clearly Coetzee was a child disturbed by the racism that was part of his life. I wonder if, as an adult writer, he assuages his own guilt by this story. What can white men really give up, compared with white women? The total humiliation of the woman in Disgrace, perhaps that’s the sacrifice he can make. The author makes amends.

The more I read of fictionalised memoir, the more I come to the realisation that it is free to be truthful when factual memoir is not. Coetzee is ruthless in his descriptions of all in this account, including himself. Nobody is nice, his childhood is horrible but when I could imagine myself whining as I told such a story, he is merely dispassionately descriptive.

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/boyhood-by-jm-coetzee/ ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Make note to learn something about South African history and culture. It does the reader no favours to be as ignorant as I while reading this.

Underline note of some years ago to read Disgrace. Watched twice, but still not read. Boyhood has given me an idea as to how one might understand the odd scenario of that book, woman raped by black men and consequently pregnant, determines to become the 3rd wife of one of the rapists. Perhaps this will afford her some degree of safety and the possibility of staying in her home…though it will no longer be her home. We are given to believe that the woman is doing this as penance for being white. It is her necessary apology.

Here in Boyhood, there is much discussion of the difference between groups, including the Coloured people who are part of his life in a mysterious and uncomfortable way. Clearly Coetzee was a child disturbed by the racism that was part of his life. I wonder if, as an adult writer, he assuages his own guilt by this story. What can white men really give up, compared with white women? The total humiliation of the woman in Disgrace, perhaps that’s the sacrifice he can make. The author makes amends.

The more I read of fictionalised memoir, the more I come to the realisation that it is free to be truthful when factual memoir is not. Coetzee is ruthless in his descriptions of all in this account, including himself. Nobody is nice, his childhood is horrible but when I could imagine myself whining as I told such a story, he is merely dispassionately descriptive.

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/boyhood-by-jm-coetzee/ ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Boyhood: Scenes From Provincial Life by J.M. Coetzee is a fictionalized autobiography of Coetzee's early years in South Africa. If you like place/setting as I do you will enjoy the feel of rural South Africa. The books is very well written as we have come to expect from such a great writer as Coetzee. Boyhood is worth a detour. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Jan 30, 2017 |
Painful, moving and intriguing story of Coetzee's boyhood, written in a gripping style. A highly recommended read. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Talk about not doing yourself any favors; if young John could meet old John and read what he's said about him, he'd probably lash out in his imagination, go home, cry in his over-protective mothers' lap, then lash out at her for smothering him. Not much happens, which makes perfect sense, since as I remember childhood it isn't exactly filled with memorable events at all. Just a generalized mood with the occasional trauma and joy. This book captures that nicely, and might illuminate Coetzee's other books for you too. Be prepared to think if you read it, and be prepared to think despite the apparent simplicity of the style. The man can write beautifully and clearly, and thanks to that, young John Maxwell will contradict himself from page to page without your noticing it, unless you're really on point. I read this a few years ago and was sadly not on point. This time I thought it was great. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. M. Coetzeeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bonilla, JuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Field, RoderickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ze wonen in een nieuwbouwwijk aan de rand van de stad Worcester, tussen de spoorlijn en het Nasionale Pad.
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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.

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Ce mai poţi face cu picioarele, decât să le sorbi din priviri? Ce anume stârneşte dorinţa?
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