Friday, 16 January 2015

Review: Slow Man

Title: Slow Man
Author: J.M. Coetzee
Genre: Contemporary 
Year: 2005
Pages: 240

I've recently been reading a lot of Coetzee as I'm taking a course on South African literature in which we focus on Coetzee and Gordimer. I've not yet reviewed any of the other novels and although this is the last I'll read for the course, this is the first I'll discuss on here. 

Slow Man centres around 60-year old Paul Rayment who, as a consequence of a cycling accident, has his leg amputated. We follow him in his struggles dealing with his new disability. Unlike the other novels I read, this novel is set in Australia rather than South Africa. This allows the reader to look at Coetzee in a different light - no political or cultural context that limits or determines the story. His other works are inevitably read with the notion of Apartheid.

Even though this novel is complex in its own way, I felt it was much more simplistic than any of the other literature for this course. While that made it light and comprehensive, second levels were so obvious it felt like the primary layer - not much thought is needed to understand. This makes it a light read, as well as quick, but it does take away the challenge which is something Coetzee's other novels do offer. This, to me, did make the journey less exciting, although the novel may be a nice start if you want to get into his work.
There was another problem I had with this novel though, and that had to do with the main character. HIs determination to be doomed after his accident even though there were plenty of opportunities to escape the downward spiral was just plainly annoying.

However, all in all, I did enjoy the book and the story, but it just wasn't as good as others I've read.

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