Slow Man



Slow Man Paul Rayment Is On The Threshold Of A Comfortable Old Age When A Calamitous Cycling Accident Results In The Amputation Of A Leg Humiliated, His Body Truncated, His Life Circumscribed, He Turns Away From His Friends He Hires A Nurse Named Marijana, With Whom He Has A European Childhood In Common Hers In Croatia, His In France Tactfully And Efficiently She Ministers To His Needs But His Feelings For Her, And For Her Handsome Teenage Son, Are Complicated By The Sudden Arrival On His Doorstep Of The Celebrated Australian Novelist Elizabeth Costello, Who Threatens To Take Over The Direction Of His Life And The Affairs Of His Heart Unflinching In Its Vision Of Suffering And Generous In Its Portrayal Of The Spirit Of Care, Slow Man Is A Masterful Work Of Fiction By One Of The World S Greatest Writers

10 thoughts on “Slow Man

  1. says:

    4 Slow man, J.M Coetzee Slow Man is a 2005 novel by South African born Nobel laureate J M Coetzee, and concerns a man who must learn to adapt after losing a leg in a road accident The novel has many varied themes, including the nature of care, the relationship between an author and his characters, and man s drive to leave a legacy 2014 1387 276 4 Slow man, J.M Coetzee Slow Man is a 2005 novel by South African born Nobel laureate J M Coetzee, and concerns a man who must learn to adapt after losing a leg in a road accident The novel has many varied themes, including the nature of care, the relationship between an author and his characters, and man s drive to leave a legacy 2014 1387 276 9789643625214 20

  2. says:

    I can t deny that JM Coetzee is indeed a talented writer Clear, concise, exacting prose And duh, he did win the Nobel Prize after all But I don t think this one is the one read Disgrace probably is What starts out as a quite conventional story soon morphs into something bordering on ludicrous Is it magical realism A darkly comedic satire on death vs consciousness Or just a novelist indulging in not having to adhere to any chosen path or structure And not bothering to answer some ke I can t deny that JM Coetzee is indeed a talented writer Clear, concise, exacting prose And duh, he did win the Nobel Prize after all But I don t think this one is the one read Disgrace probably is What starts out as a quite conventional story soon morphs into something bordering on ludicrous Is it magical realism A darkly comedic satire on death vs consciousness Or just a novelist indulging in not having to adhere to any chosen path or structure And not bothering to answer some key questions about certain characters As a mediation on aging, intimacy and mortality, it excels As a novel , it fails to deliver a coherent narrative And soon becomes tedious If it weren t so short and a fast read, I probably would ve tossed it aside

  3. says:

    4th Coetzee book I ve read what makes this possible, not getting bored by the same author s voice while reading Coetzee all summer long, is his outstanding talent for making the novel readable All four novels I ve read Disgrace, Elizabeth Costello, Life and Times of Michael K., this, currently a fifth classic Waiting for the Barbarians are distinctly different from each other, and this being his most current perhaps there is a newer it has the figure of the lonely fallen man 4th Coetzee book I ve read what makes this possible, not getting bored by the same author s voice while reading Coetzee all summer long, is his outstanding talent for making the novel readable All four novels I ve read Disgrace, Elizabeth Costello, Life and Times of Michael K., this, currently a fifth classic Waiting for the Barbarians are distinctly different from each other, and this being his most current perhaps there is a newer it has the figure of the lonely fallen man Disgrace making sense of a new way of life in this instance it is a grown man, newly amputated, slow and immobile, who takes center stage More so than Elizabeth Costello that Nobel prize worthy novel, and my favorite of Coetzee s , the taking over of the protagonist s psyche is so complete that growing paranoid was never before perceived to be this much fun The reader s sensibilities are likewise Paul s, they both go mad together Also taking contemporary issues the social boiling pot that is South Africa the differences in cultures, customs and lives he does yet another masterful genre splice the tricky postmodern Murakami meets Saramago turn Elizabeth Costello s the writer s strange presence in this his next novel Is it me or was the question set forth What happens when the character in a plot meets it s writer creator Plenty of modern masters have tried to set a foot in Borges s metafictional terrain Slow Man s awkward but shocking finale sets the record straight This novelist can do it all

  4. says:

    This is my first Coetzee, and for the first sixty pages, it seemed to be an interesting but not arresting book about an older man coping with losing a leg, and his mobility and freedom, and the after effects of such a loss, including falling in love with his nurse Nothing earthshattering.And then the author showed up Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can rea This is my first Coetzee, and for the first sixty pages, it seemed to be an interesting but not arresting book about an older man coping with losing a leg, and his mobility and freedom, and the after effects of such a loss, including falling in love with his nurse Nothing earthshattering.And then the author showed up Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  5. says:

    What I love about Coetzee is that he isn t afraid of fitting a tire over the goat s torso As I m reading the reviews of this book from my other Goodreads buddies, many seem disturbed by the character Elizabeth Costello, who truly breaks with logic and knows impossible details of characters In other words she is a meta character who speechifies some of the arguments and questions I m sure Coetzee had in writing this book, and in the hands of a post modernist dilettante, this character would hav What I love about Coetzee is that he isn t afraid of fitting a tire over the goat s torso As I m reading the reviews of this book from my other Goodreads buddies, many seem disturbed by the character Elizabeth Costello, who truly breaks with logic and knows impossible details of characters In other words she is a meta character who speechifies some of the arguments and questions I m sure Coetzee had in writing this book, and in the hands of a post modernist dilettante, this character would have simply been self indulgence, an intellectual exercise that proves how smart and well read the writer is But Coetzee uses this character in a muchdazzling and unsettling way, the same way Beckett uses his characters to inch closer to the terrors of black nothing EC can t be dismissed as a meta character because she materializes with the same fullness as any other character in the book Coetzee puts in work to give her the same physical gestures and sensory life of Paul Rayment You don t quite know how to receive this woman You empathize with her, you hear her rattling cough, but you also know she s mannered, overly handled by The Author This makes you examine the idea of character, and you realize there are only slight differences, at least in theory, between EC and the rest of the gang I felt wonderfully weird reading this book In The Life and Times of Michael K, Coetzee pulls a similar move in breaking the symmetry of the book, using a 1st person narrative that recounts the first s of the book told in 3rd person This move itself wasn t what disturbed the reader It was the position of this move, about 3 4 s into the book Huh Cynthia Ozik considered this the only flaw in the book, but maybe I just see flaws as artistic necessities What are we trying to do, make the perfect reproduction of the world Or are we trying to bend light and distort so that the world can experience what the artist sees I loved this book

  6. says:

    This review originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News When you ve won every possible literary award, including the Nobel Prize, you re entitled to indulge yourself a little That, at least, is my explanation for how J.M Coetzee came up with this fascinating flop of a novel Slow Man begins with Paul Rayment, a photographer who lives in Australia, losing a leg in a bicycle accident The 60 year old Rayment, who lives alone and has no close family, descends into bitterness He refuses This review originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News When you ve won every possible literary award, including the Nobel Prize, you re entitled to indulge yourself a little That, at least, is my explanation for how J.M Coetzee came up with this fascinating flop of a novel Slow Man begins with Paul Rayment, a photographer who lives in Australia, losing a leg in a bicycle accident The 60 year old Rayment, who lives alone and has no close family, descends into bitterness He refuses to have a prosthesis fitted and crankily dismisses a series of visiting nurses until he finally finds one, a Croatian woman named Marijana, with whom he can get along Then gradually he realizes that he s falling in love with her, which is something of a problem because she s married and has three children At this point, about a third of the way into the book, we have few hints that this will be anything other than a conventional novel, albeit one animated by Coetzee s superb ability to make us feel the pain, rage and frustration that a Paul Rayment must feel Then into Paul s life if we can call it that walks the novelist Elizabeth Costello, who informs him, You occurred to me a man with a bad leg and no future and an unsuitable passion That was where it started Where we go from there I have no idea Both the reader and Paul are perplexed as to why this aging woman has suddenly shown up at his flat and announced that she s moving in I will be a model guest, I promise I won t hang my undies in your bathroom Most of the time you won t notice I am here Just a touch on the shoulder, now and then, to keep you on the path All he knows is that she s a famous writer He tried once to read a book by her, a novel, but gave up on it, it did not hold his attention We know or probably should, anyway that Elizabeth Costello was the title character of Coetzee s immediately previous book, published in 2003 And when she quotes to Paul the opening sentences of Slow Man, we begin to get the idea He s a character in a novel that she s writing And both of them are characters in a novel that Coetzee s writing And once you ve stuck your head into that metafictional and metaphysical maze, there s no turning back Elizabeth Costello turns out to be an amusingly irritating and didactic busybody She dominates the middle part of the novel, as she tries to get Paul to resolve the impasse in his life and her novel She s mostly passive aggressive, but occasionally she interferes directly, as when she sets up a liaison between Paul and a mysterious woman whom she brings to his flat Paul and the woman make love, though neither can see the other She s blind, and he s blindfolded This odd incident is a narrative dead end It has no effect on Paul other than to make him reflect on how he s become the author s puppet Or might the Costello woman be writing two stories at once, stories about characters who suffer a loss sight in the one case, ambulation in the other which they must learn to live with and, as an experiment or even as a kind of professional joke, might she have arranged for their two life lines to intersect He has no experience of novelists and how they go about their business, but it sounds not implausible As Paul s exasperation with Elizabeth Costello grows, we get a kind of reverse spin on Pirandello not six characters in search of an author, but one character trying to escape from an author But there s only one way Paul can escape from Elizabeth Costello, as she explains to him The sooner you settle on a course of action and commit yourself to it, the sooner you and I, to our mutual relief, will be able to part In other words, if a writer creates a character, it s up to the character not the author to work out his or her destiny For me alone Paul Rayment was born and I for him, she says His is the power of leading, mine of following his of acting, mine of writing But for all the hall of mirrors cleverness of making an author and her character interact as characters in a novel, Coetzee has simply rung a change on an age old novelistic convention the omniscient narrator No, George Eliot didn t wander around Middlemarch nudging Dorothea and Ladislaw into action, but the effect of having an author who knows what s going on in her characters heads isn t very different from what Coetzee winds up doing here Once you ve accepted the premise that fiction is something that somebody makes up, and that it has a complex relationship with what we call real life, you haven t gone much further than most of us do when we take our first college lit courses Slow Man finally rises out of the muddle of metaphysics to become a story again, working out Paul s increasingly complicated relationship with Marijana and her family, especially her teenage son, Drago, for whom Paul mistakenly tries to become a surrogate father And Elizabeth Costello becomesthan just a meddlesome authorial fairy godmother She has her own story, a set of personal problems to work out in tandem with the ones that she has imposed on Paul or from her point of view, allowed Paul to impose on himself But by the time the novel s ending arrives, it feels tired and anticlimactic, as if too much thinking about fiction has sapped the life out of it Slow Man is undeniably perceptive about many things, and throughout it there is the pleasure of watching a brilliant mind at work and play But when a novelist gets too self conscious about writing a novel, he or she probably can t give us what we really want a novel to do feel like life unmediated life

  7. says:

    I read farthan was necessary to finally determine this book was not worth reading Upon the entrance of Elizabeth Costello I knew pretty much that I was in for a weighty disappointment The main character and his stubborn life style refusals and insistence on furthering an ill fated and inappropriate love affair left me feeling basically disgusted with the pitiful old gent I was embarrassed for all aging men and what they might become if served heaped on a plate filled with leftover medio I read farthan was necessary to finally determine this book was not worth reading Upon the entrance of Elizabeth Costello I knew pretty much that I was in for a weighty disappointment The main character and his stubborn life style refusals and insistence on furthering an ill fated and inappropriate love affair left me feeling basically disgusted with the pitiful old gent I was embarrassed for all aging men and what they might become if served heaped on a plate filled with leftover mediocrities I have no idea what possessed a man of such talent as Coetzee s to write this drivel and why he allowed it to even be published The text is nothing short of despicable and I doubt the experience will wash completely off me But I will rub and scrub with the harshest of detergents and hope the cleansing chemicals will somehow save me instead of causing adeadly cancer to grow But after reading two thirds of this I cannot imagine what that could be

  8. says:

    The blow catches him from the right, sharp and surprising and painful, like a bolt of electricity, lifting him up off the bicycle Paul Rayment, a photographer in Adelaide, finds himself in a hospital recovering from a bicycle accident, with one leg amputated above the knee He refuses a prosthesis and opts for nursing care After going through a succession of nurses, he develops feelings for a Croatian nurse, Marijana, a married woman with three children In addition to his loss of independen The blow catches him from the right, sharp and surprising and painful, like a bolt of electricity, lifting him up off the bicycle Paul Rayment, a photographer in Adelaide, finds himself in a hospital recovering from a bicycle accident, with one leg amputated above the knee He refuses a prosthesis and opts for nursing care After going through a succession of nurses, he develops feelings for a Croatian nurse, Marijana, a married woman with three children In addition to his loss of independence and the problems of aging, Paul is coping with loneliness and regrets over never having children He attempts to have Marijana and her children play a major part of his life.The first third of the novel seems realistic Then the novelist Elizabeth Costello shows up at Paul s door, an annoying woman who he has never met She is a character from J.M Coetzee s previous novel She starts reciting the passage at the top of this review, The blow catches him When she first heard those words, she had asked herself, Why do I need this man Elizabeth Costello seems to be a stand in for the author Coetzee since she knows all about Paul and the other characters She uses her knowledge to try to prod Paul into action At the same time, Paul is feeling that she is using his reactions to create a character for a book that she is writing She s a persistent woman, constantly visiting, although he keeps trying to get rid of her Paul, who immigrated from France to Australia as a child, is working through his feelings about home, about belonging, and about love After a career as a portrait photographer, Paul seems to be thinking about who the man in his own mirror is as a person.The reader is watching Elizabeth Costello interact with Paul as she gets material for the story that Coetzee has written and we are reading While it s a creative idea, it also moves the story from a realistic plane to a position where the reader no longer knows what is real and what is unreal But that s Coetzee an author who has fun playing around with the readers minds

  9. says:

    This is a complicated book to write about in a few words On one level it is a story of a sad, isolated man who suffers the loss of a leg in an accident and who becomes hopelessly and inappropriately infatuated with the woman taking care of him On another level it is the a mediation about the craft of fiction writing and the mysterious relationship between the writer Coetzee aka Elizabeth Costello and the character he she is creating At the half way point of the story, the protagonist says s This is a complicated book to write about in a few words On one level it is a story of a sad, isolated man who suffers the loss of a leg in an accident and who becomes hopelessly and inappropriately infatuated with the woman taking care of him On another level it is the a mediation about the craft of fiction writing and the mysterious relationship between the writer Coetzee aka Elizabeth Costello and the character he she is creating At the half way point of the story, the protagonist says something that is a so disastrous that the author must come on stage to try to rescue the story The two levels are intricately woven together in the second half of the book, which ends with an unexpected act of simple kindness that deeply touches the central character I came away with a real sense of compassion for the shut down humanity of the slow man because, of course, some part of me is a slow man too Coetzee deserves his Nobel

  10. says:

    This is my first reading of author J.M Coetzee, multiple winner of the Booker Prize as well as a Nobel Prize winner This South African author relocated to Australia in 2002, and I am trying to figure out why I had never heard of him I have another one of his books on my Kindle I should get to before long.This book is interesting, moving, thought provoking, sometimes frustrating but also has much to amuse the reader Our Slow Man Paul would seem to be a physically fit, self contained man liv This is my first reading of author J.M Coetzee, multiple winner of the Booker Prize as well as a Nobel Prize winner This South African author relocated to Australia in 2002, and I am trying to figure out why I had never heard of him I have another one of his books on my Kindle I should get to before long.This book is interesting, moving, thought provoking, sometimes frustrating but also has much to amuse the reader Our Slow Man Paul would seem to be a physically fit, self contained man living in Australia but not born there The immigrant theme rings its bell in several instances.Paul, a man of 60, is happily riding his bicycle when a young man listening to music and not driving carefully crashes into him While he is lucky to have not been killed in this road accident the injuries dramatically change his life Doctors amputate above the knee, encouraging him to believe he can return to regular life, including biking, if he goes with prostheticsomething he refuses.Detail of life in the hospital, then the difficult transition to his flat and the home care providers evokes sympathy and then wariness as he develops what he thinks of as love for a Croatian woman who has a family of her own to take care of in addition to other patients.This might sound maudlin, but it has true revelatory honesty at its core Adding to his physical challenges a woman appears, authoress Elizabeth, and she literally invades his life It is so very peculiar the reader is struggling to understand her role in this drama angel prophetess writer searching for her next leading character Or did Paul actually die, something he eventually asks.I look forward to readingworks by this highly original author

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