Susan Midalia's Review
Nobel Prize-winner J.M. Coetzee’s latest work of fiction, comprised of a novella and five short stories, is unmissable. The novella ‘The Pole’ creates a constantly surprising plot about an ageing Polish concert pianist obsessed with a younger married woman. Seen from the woman’s perspective, the story questions, among other things, the sincerity of our emotions and the honesty of our motives.
The Pole’ is also concerned with the vexed issue of translation: from one language to another, and from composer to musician, as people struggle to communicate, or seek a dimension of life beyond rational understanding.
Most of the remaining stories return us to Coetzee’s intellectually formidable character, the writer Elizabeth Costello. These stories are shadowed by the indignities of ageing and the inevitability of death, fired by philosophical debates about our responsibility to all forms of life.
This new collection is Coetzee at his best: morally complex, often wryly humorous and always thought-provoking.
Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee reaffirms his place as one of the English language's most acclaimed authors with this fascinating examination of life, death and animals.
These six stories by Nobel Prize-winner J. M. Coetzee show us, once more, a writer confronting moral and emotional quandaries, often with wry humour. In the lead story, 'The Pole', concert pianist Witold attempts to play out a romantic fantasy with local music devotee Beatriz. In person and in their correspondence, he is persistent, she resistant, but curious. It doesn't end quite as she might have imagined.
The redoubtable character of Elizabeth Costello appears in four stories, engaging in
philosophical discussions about death, motherhood and ethics with her adult children, in particular her son John.
The Pole and Other Stories will make you think differently about life, death and animals.