Boyhood

Boyhood : Scenes from Provincial Life

By (author) J. M. Coetzee

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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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  • Paperback | 166 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • 24 Sep 1998
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • New York, NY
  • English
  • 014026566X
  • 9780140265668
  • 179,716

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Author Information

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa's highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Review quote

Fiercely revealing, bluntly unsentimental. . .a telling portrait of the artist as a young man that illuminates the hidden source of his art." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Exceptional...a scorched tale of race, caste, shame, and--at times--hilarious bewilderment." --The New Yorker"Tremendously readable and powerful...a masterfully told, spare and accessible memoir." --The Boston Globe

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