I’ve just started Coetzee’s latest: Summertime. One of the Booker Dozen, I recently read both Boyhood and Youth, both subtitled “Scenes From Provincial Life”. Both of those I checked out of the library. I thought it funny that Boyhoodwas shelvevd as non-fiction and Youth was shelved as fiction. Appropriate. They could be shelved in both.
They’re some hybrid of fiction and autobiography, as are several of Coetzee’s books. So I was expecting something in a similar vein from the new one. Rule #1 when reading Coetzee: Expect the unexpected. This is not to say that you will find plot twists and turns. It is to say that you will find fiction/non-fiction turning in on itself. You’ll be wearing that shirt inside out before you know it. I’m glad I still have my library copy of Youth, since it’s obvious that though JMC takes a different approach in this third installment (we’ve seen this kind of thing before – the Elizabeth Costello books), there is a rich textual connection between the two (and probably three) books.
This is exciting stuff.