ReadySteadyBlog

Steve -- This Space -- Mitchelmore has written a superb review -- and defence -- of J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year:


Diary of a Bad Year is an exceptionally moving investigation of what it means to have singular opinions in a plural universe. The short, diverse essays at the top of each page signal a diminishment of writerly power. They might evoke a hollow echo if published alone. At least one reviewer sees this as a problem to the success of the book. Yet if they were more fully-developed, they would crust over what is currently an open wound. And it is the gaping wound with which Coetzee's is concerned. Success, in this sense, would be failure.

I think Steve is pretty near spot-on with this, but I don't agree completely. I think there was a tiredness to the novel, beyond JC's tiredness; a frustration with the novel form, beyond the frustration discussed in the essays; a perfunctory quality to some of the writing, beyond the artful intent to leave the work "open": success would, indeed, be failure here, were the work to be too complete, but I still think Coetzee could have failed better.

Readers Comments

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.

 

 

 

Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.