Disgrace by J.M.Coetzee (our latest Book Club read)
After years teaching romantic poetry at a Cape Town University, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, has an impulsive affair with a student. The relationship turns sour and he resigns his position and retreats to his daughter Lucy's isolated small holding. For a time things go well but the balance of the country is shifting. He and Lucy become victims of a savage attack which bring the cracks in their relationship to the forefront.
This Booker Prize winning novel is beautifully written. The prose flows effortlessly making it very easy to read. The subject matter however is not an easy read. I disliked the main character intensely. The attack is horrific. The aftermath uncomfortable. The themes in this book are very unattractive and I did not enjoy reading it at all.
My Book Club friends had similar opinions, particularly regarding the quality of the writing and our dislike for the sexual predator David. We spent a long time discussing how the book reflected on post Apartheid South Africa and the struggle for both sides of the divide to adjust to their new social positions. No-one could understand Lucy's post attack decisions and felt we could not relate to her character, possibly because we only see the situation from David's point if view. Overall we were all pleased it was a short book!
2/5 (5/5 for the superb writing style)
I'll Be Watching You by Beverley Barton
Judge Ella Porter starts receiving disturbing letters hand delivered to her office. The main suspect is Reed Conway, imprisioned for 15yrs for a crime he claims he did not commit. Her father, Senator Porter, prosecuted the case and is adament he is a threat to her safety. But something about Reed's claims ring true with Ella. Is he dangerous? And if not who is sending the letters?
This book was very fast paced and I really enjoyed the suspense storyline and the surprising twist ending. But it was rather racy! I wasn't expecting it to be so hot under the collar but it worked well building tension in the relationship between Ella and Reed. I found the very end a little too sickly though and would have preferred it not to have been wrapped up with a bow.
I am currently reading:
Dead Man Walking by Paul Finch (God I am loving this book!)