The latest by the Nobel Prize-winning author of "Disgrace" is an utterly contemporary work of fiction that addresses the profound unease of countless people in democracies across the world.
In this ingenious game of a book, the plot itself is relatively simple. The aforementioned older writer bumps into a young woman in the laundry room of his apartment building. Infatuated even as he is aware they will never become romantically involved, he hires her to be his typist. The manuscript she’s typing, titled Strong Opinions, turns out to be the series of deeply moral and soul-searching essays that occupy the top third of each page of Diary of a Bad Year.
Provocative in its ideas and satisfying as a story, Diary of a Bad Year exhibits the steady and straightforward tone for which Coetzee has been known throughout his career. Here, his lucid prose is in service of a passionate statement against the current state of affairs in Washington D.C. and London as well as a poignant story of a dying man yearning, ultimately, for love.