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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Dusklands by J. Dusklands by J. Dusklands is the first novel by J. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It is a presentation and critique of the violence inherent in the colonialist and imperialist mentality of the Western world. The novel actually consists of two separate stories.

The first one, "The Vietnam Project", relates the gradual descent into insanity of its protagonis Dusklands is the first novel by J. The first one, "The Vietnam Project", relates the gradual descent into insanity of its protagonist Eugene Dawn. Eugene works for a U. The second story, "The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee", which takes place in the 18th century, is an account of a hunting expedition into the then "unexplored" interior of South Africa. After crossing the Orange River, Jacobus meets with a Namaqua tribe to trade, but suddenly falls ill.

He is attended to by the tribe and gradually recovers, only to get into a fight for which he is expelled from the village. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 1st by Penguin Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Dusklands , please sign up.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Dusklands. Jul 09, Jim Fonseca rated it liked it Shelves: south-african-authors , afrikaans-authors , novella , historical-novel. I cannot help that. Here goes. He keeps a file of violent pictures and atrocities from the war.

We can tell that this is the last thing any military person is going to even read, never mind take into account. As he ruminates about his attitude toward his boss and his wife, we can also tell he has serious mental issues. Sure enough he later kidnaps his young boy away from his wife. The theme seems to be that he became saturated with the violence he is absorbing every day in his work.

He ends up in a mental hospital or prison discussing his myth theories with the psychologists there. The ancestor has a large farm with Hottentot slaves. He takes them on a hunting expedition into unexplored by Europeans Bushman territory looking for elephants to kill for their tusks.

Both groups are of the Khoisan language group. As a geographer, I appreciate one section where he offers some heavy-duty philosophy about the spatial process of settlement. From Capetown, early settlers could basically only go North, a parallel to the American dream of West. The wild is one because it is boundless.

We can count fig-trees, we can count sheep because the orchard and the farm are bounded. The essence of orchard tree and farm sheep is number. Our commerce with the wild is a tireless enterprise of turning it into orchard and farm. When we cannot fence it and count it we reduce it to number by other means. Every wild creature I kill crosses the boundary between wilderness and number. He who does not understand number does not understand death….

Now that the gun has arrived among them the native tribes are doomed, not only because the gun will kill them in large numbers but because the yearning for it will alienate them from the wilderness. Every territory I march through with my gun becomes a territory cast loose from the past and bound to the future.

Many of his Hottentots slaves leave him to stay with women in the tribe. The Bushmen steal his wagon, pack animals, guns, food and food cattle and supplies. He gradually recovers but gets into a fight and is expelled from the village. His last slave dies on the way home as he walks back hundreds of miles. View all 4 comments. Sep 10, Fabian rated it liked it. Lacks a sufficient amount of cohesiveness--although we do unearth the strong rebellious nature of the revered South African master that later became his staple.

It is a clearheaded not in the editing, mind you multi message work More impressed with ideas here than with a clear or classic plot.

He is original in his interpersonal doppelganger show, as well as the crisscross, mishmash, hoopla of breeding true fiction with fakish true life histories. View 1 comment. Feb 20, K. Shelves: core. Very powerful. To think that this was J. Coetzee's first novel. This is my 4th book by him. Despite the Booker awards he got in the first two book, there were times I wondered how he was able to get his Nobel Prize for Literature.

Michael K barely has anything on racism as it only touches on military involvement due to racial segregation with Michael K and his mother fleeing the city. Disgrace is about a professor as Very powerful. Disgrace is about a professor asked to resign due to his affair with his student. Slowman is about this bicycleman who had an accident on the street.

So Duskland must be one of the reasons for J. Coetzee winning his Nobel. It is composed of two stories about the complexity brought about by more powerful countries colonizing or taking over smaller or poorer countries. The first story is about Eugene Dawn , who is assigned to work on a propaganda about Vietnam War in line with the government's psychological warfare. Part of his job is to write articles or reports containing several pictures taken from the on-going war.

Those pictures are themselves too disturbing and could speak for the horrors not of the war itself but by one race, not necessarily superior, trying to impose itself upon another. Coetzee brilliantly used Dawn to illustrate how wrong it is for the U. The tragedies that he befell into later in the story are too sad for the message to be missed by the readers. The second story is about Jacobus Coetzee and it is set in the 18th century and this time, not in Asia but in Africa.

Both of their stories are dark and sad. The only difference is that Conrad's prose is lyrical while J. Coetzee's is direct, hard-hitting and appeared like a non-fiction work because of the footnotes and the full research that he spent in writing Jacobus Coetzee's travel-like diary is astounding. Jacobus Coetzee's fate is similar to that of Eugene Dawn. He was thrown out from the tribe that at first welcomed him making him realized the evil of colonizing a race whose culture and beliefs were totally different from his own.


Dusklands: Coetzee's Essential Debut Novel

Because the enigmatic South African novelist J. Coetzee's first novel Dusklands is out of print everywhere I've looked, I always figured the book must have been a weak start to a great career. Dusklands was published in , years before Coetzee started hitting his powerful stride with The Life and Times of Michael K. Since I couldn't buy the book in bookstores or order a new copy online, I satisfied myself at first by reading summaries of what Dusklands appeared to be: a divided narrative constructed of two invented "found manuscripts", the first an American military psychologist's report of propaganda efforts during the Vietnam War, the second an early Dutch South African explorer's report of a journey into the unknown regions of the continent. Eventually, as I recently waited for Coetzee's new novel The Childhood of Jesus to be released in my country, I broke down and ordered a used copy of Dusklands online. It probably wouldn't be any great Coetzee, I figured, but I wouldn't mind a small minor work, a glimpse at the uncertain youthful voice of a later genius.


You must listen. I speak with the voice of things to come. I speak in troubled times and tell you how to be as children again. Both are concerned with power—who wields it, who is subject to it—and its often catastrophic consequences. Coetzee was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in He lives in Adelaide. The promise, so brilliantly fulfilled in his later work, is clear in this earliest novel.

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