“The story of Eurydice has been misunderstood. What the story is about is the solitariness of death. Eurydice is in hell in her grave-clothes. She believes that Orpheus loves her enough to come and save her. And indeed Orpheus comes. But in the end the love Orpheus feels is not strong enough. Orpheus leaves his beloved behind and returns to his own life.”—J. M. Coetzee from The Diary of a Bad Year
“Sometimes when he is among the sheep- when they have been rounded up to be dipped, and are penned tight and cannot get away—he wants to whisper to them, warn them of what lies in store. But then in their yellow eye he catches a glimpse of something that silences him: a resignation, a foreknowledge not only of what happens to sheep at the hands of Ros behind the shed, but of what awaits the at the end of the long, thirsty ride to Cape Town on the transport lorry. They know it all, down to the finest detail, and yet they submit. They have calculated the price and are prepared to pay it— the price of being on earth, the price of being alive.”—J. M. Coetzee - Boyhood (1999)
“Although he devoted hours of each day to his new discipline, he finds its first premise, as enunciated in the Communications 101 handbook, preposterous: 'Human society has created language in order that we may communicate our thoughts, feelings, and intentions to each other.' His own opinion, which he does not air, is that the origins of speech lie in song, and the origins of song in the need to fill out with sound the overlarge and rather empty human soul.”—
J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace,1999
Thinking About Disgrace
I loved the lyrical yet sparse quality of this novel. Coetzee has this really wonderful grasp on melody and music, as shown but through the content as well as the pacing of the story. The juxtaposition of Byron with Lurie’s life is absolutely brilliant, how they complement each other. It’s very cinematic, the way the music works with the violence of the setting and the actions. I have been thinking a lot about music in writing, i.e. Egan and Murakami as well, and how I can apply this to my life, my way of reading things, and my own writing projects.