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Following on from Stranger Shores, which contained J.M. Coetzee's essays from 1986 to 1999, Inner Workings gathers together his literary essays from 2000 to 2005. Of the writers discussed in the first half of the book, several - Italo Svevo, Joseph Roth, Bruno Schulz, Sandor Marai - lived through the Austro-Hungarian fin de siecle and felt the influence of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Freud. Coetzee further explores the work of six of twentieth-century German literature's greatest writers: Robert Musil, Robert Walser, Walter Benjamin (the Arcades Project), Joseph Roth, Gunter Grass, W.G. Sebald, and the poet Paul Celan in his 'wrestlings with the German language'. There is an essay on Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and on the short fiction of Samuel Beckett, a writer whom Coetzee has long admired. American literature is strongly represented from Walt Whitman, through William Faulkner, Saul Bellow and Arthur Miller to Philip Roth. Coetzee rounds off the collection with essays on three fellow Nobel laureates: Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and V.S. Naipaul.
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A collection of essays on literature by one of the world's finest writers: a must read.

About the Author

J.M. Coetzee's work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.


Written in Coetzee's (Disgrace) spare yet precise style, these essays cover a wide range of literature. His subjects, both European and American writers, range from Walt Whitman to Nadine Gordimer. Throughout, Coetzee demonstrates a comfortable grasp of the authors' body of work, their life and era, and other critical commentary surrounding their work. This command of his material blends well with the scrupulous rigor with which he examines the authors' meaning and intent. Coetzee's sage analysis is accompanied by concise plot summaries of relevant works, a useful feature for those unfamiliar with all the writings of the author in question. This collection would therefore be useful both to those studying the subjects of his essays and to those wishing for an introduction to the authors. Furthermore, as noted in Derek Attridge's (J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading) introduction, the essays allow oblique insights into Coetzee's own well-rewarded body of literature and will thus also be positively received by established followers of his fiction writing. Suited to academic and larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/07.]--Rebecca Bollen Manalac, Sydney, Australia Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"The essays here are welcoming, informative, readable, lucid, plain, purged of jargon... Coetzee is a critic of unbiddable integrity" * Daily Telegraph * "Literary criticism of the highest order...will be read and valued by anyone interested in the inner workings of literature for decades to come" * Independent * " impeccable stylist" * Spectator * "Fans will relish his precise, restrained style of literary criticism...communicating Coetzee's passion for literature" * New Statesman * "Coetzee the critic is every bit as good as Coetzee the novelist." * Irish Times *

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