Disgrace: A Novel

Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee Disgrace is a beautifully written, emotionally blunt novel that maps, in shadows and scars, the complicated cultural geography of contemporary Cape Town. In Disgrace the decadence of Western privilege overlays the body of rural Africa; the useless academic hopes to shape and tame the simple thoughts of the unformed young; and art seeks to find honesty in first distantly mimicking then finally respecting the rough-hewn people it mines for material. Finally, and in a manner that makes this novel so striking, the reverse of each scenario arrives, and proves its own uncomfortable truth.None of this says what the novel is about, which is something I think is best described by the book jacket: an attempt to finding meaning after an act — acts — of unimaginable violence. But around those scenes are moments of individual, personal elevation, making the entire novel something like the county itself: a mix of chaos and ritual, horror and art, and disgrace met with a kind of accepting salvation.