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2003 Nobel Prize Winner J.M. Coetzee's "Disgrace"


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This is one of those books I got to read while in transit via the subway to and fro my destinations to my other gigs. I have kept this book for over a year now, and thought, and have confirmed that it is actually very readable (I read it in less than 3 days), even with a lot of distractions while on the subway.

I would not detail down the story, as it is obviously giving away its very structure. It would suffice to describe that this thin book is about a middle aged scholar who is making a relatively stable livelihood as a tenured professor, and has soon put himself into a lot of unimaginable troubles when he got “out of bounds" in his efforts to manifest his *** intentions and bodily desires.

But putting this brief description aside, my reading of this book has come with it different levels of experience, that allowed me to be aware again of what I have not focused on in a long while whenever I read books with interesting social and historical context. It has got a well delineated story to begin with, interesting characters, and a context that makes one think about the conflicting attitudes of people who have undergone the terrible processes of “colonization" as against that of someone coming from a country that “colonizes, " and continuing into the views of those who have “colonized up to now, " with whom I tend to share my feelings of empathy as the original country where I come from is the Philippines (the farthest country, being in South East Asia, that used to be part of the great colonized-countries of the empire of Spain).

I can just imagine how development directions of the Philippines would have been far progressive if it was not given up by the British when it momentarily took possession of the Philippines as a prize after a naval war against Spain across Manila Bay during the 18th century. But I would like to remain grateful for Spain for the heritage that the Philippines has got now, nevertheless.

Yet, reading “Disgrace, " makes me to continue thinking about my position. It is not always a comforting thought to be part of a colonized country. “Colonizing" has a debasing element in it. Colonizers are basically driven by greed of all forms, and certainly, they are known to be cruel, no matter how you look at it. “Disgrace" has that after effect on me, that it has got me thinking about the Philippines, given its experiences of being a colony of Spain, and later on by the USA. But I would rather focus on the collective gains, rather than the terrible sufferings, which are all recorded anyway, in historical books.

I'm surprised that J. M. Coetzee's “Disgrace" is rather light to read, given its levels of complexities. He has got that compelling writing style that appeals to my tastes of books I would like to read, either for learning or reading pleasure. The main characters exhibit such levels of passion, raw eroticism. And this is the first book I read about “animal rights" being shoved into my face, so to say, with me getting to appreciate such rights, and getting myself into pondering about my own existence. And I soon got to know that Coetzee's been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. How rewarding that could be for such a fine writer like him!

I write mostly about changes, and issues revolving around moving-on themes. You may read more about them, mostly written in a personal but daring viewpoint, in these links.


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