Saturday, May 17, 2008


Couldn't the man have acknowledged his audience with a flicker of eye contact or a half-smile? (We did welcome him with applause, after all.)

The censors' comments he read out of his own work were interesting but hard to tell whether he thought they were laughably innacurate (I thought, given the times and circumstances, they were surprisingly liberal).

His first reading , written from the point of view of a "farm girl" was written with a vocabulary of an academic, not that of a presumably uneducated farm girl (Of course, this is was an extract, so I may have mised something). After a while, after some of the particularly arcane words, I took note of some of them: "cogent", "maw"; "immure"; "dither". From this I assumed it was Coetzee's vocabulary thrust onto a character. The same with a policeman in the second extract. "I'd like you to consider it"; "you will concur.." "If one loosens. .." Really? A policeman using "one" like that?
I guess as a playwright I admire those fiction writers who can write dialogue that truly indicate the individuality, background and education of those speaking it..

But hey, he's the man with the Bookers and the Nobel Prize.....

Roger Hall


Anonymous said...

Is "dither" an arcane word?

Anonymous said...

Wow -- after years of dedicating your writing life to making the middle-age spread of middle-class punters wobble in our theatres you've turned into a literary critic who can take on Coetzee. Go Roger!