Life & Times of Michael K

By J. M. Coetzee,

Book cover of Life & Times of Michael K

Book description

From author of Waiting for the Barbarians and Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee.

J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018.

In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Life & Times of Michael K as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Life and Times of Michael K is a beautifully written allegory about the troubled apartheid era in South Africa. The author, Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, was one of my lecturers at the University of Cape Town and this is my favorite book of his. It provides superb descriptions of the arid South African landscape and how a solitary figure ekes out an existence: alone, off-grid, reclusive… waiting for the tide of history to turn. The novel is set in the heart of the Karoo, a semi-desert region that I love to visit to get away from the city and…

From Justin's list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty.

It was a shock to read this book. So unlike anything I’d read before in the literature of South Africa. A strange almost dreamlike novel about a mostly mute man’s wanderings and sufferings through the societies and landscapes that make up South Africa. Allegorical, subversive, challenging, philosophical, yet ultimately life-affirming. 

Still valid, in our present age of wandering peoples, in its depiction of a failed Eden.

I paid homage to the book by introducing a minor character named Michael in my own novel.

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