The trouble, if it can really be named as such, for many contemporary authors is the baggage that comes with national identity. For many, to. A modern classic by Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee. His latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: will be. J. M. COETZEE’S WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS. Susan Van Zanten Gallagher. One of the most horrifying realities of the twentieth century is the wide- .

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The Magistrate has an intimate yet uncertain relationship with the girl. One can always hope. Fears mount that a group of barbarians outside the city walls are planning an attack and the bureacratically mysterious Empire sends additional troops and agents in preparation.

Some allegories remain unclear to me I’m not well-versed in the Biblebut that does not detract from the overall impression. And how do empires respond to real or imagined barbarians?

Waiting for the Barbarians

To ask other readers questions about Waiting for barharians Barbariansplease sign up. The Magistrate’s rather peaceful existence comes to an ths with the Empire’s declaration of a state of emergency and with the deployment of the Third Bureau—special forces of the Empire—due to rumours that the area’s indigenous peoplecalled ” barbarians ” by the colonists, might be preparing to attack the town. Paperbackpages. A copy should come in every newborn’s gift package.

This is the third Coetzee I’ve read now and all of them are economic in terms of ceotzee spe “I should never have allowed the gates of the town to be opened to people who assert that there are higher considerations than those of decency. Return to Book Page. Here the ending is one of several possible, but also not the worst. A premonitory sense of doom? He does a fantastic job of describing how quickly one can fade while at the same time acknowledging the toughness of the desire to keep breathing.

Scenes from Provincial Life Youth: The soldiers, however, begin to flee the town as winter approaches and their campaign j the barbarians collapses. With the buck before me suspended in immobility, there seems to be time for all things, time even to turn my gaze inward and see what it is that has robbed the hunt of its savour: Oct 14, Steven Godin rated it really liked it Shelves: From the outset the Magistrate is confronted by a Colonel, an uneasy bureaucrat sent by the the Third Bureau which states the the barbarians coetzfe preparing to mutiny.

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The Empire, the geographical setting, and the time period in which the story takes place are never explicitly stated, and this seems to give the work a timeless bsrbarians. The Third Bureau soldiers have reappeared there and now arrest the Magistrate for having deserted his post and consorting with “the coeztee. Has that aspect of our manhood been downsized in this current age, or are we read “I” too busy rushing home to type up “clever” book barbraians to seize the little, day-to-day opportunities to make a difference?

I had a hard time, and this is my fault, with the desire to overlay South African waaiting about which I know next to nothing over my interpretation of the text. This pound Samoan guy in a black silk suit sat across the aisle from me. When the alien archeologists are sifting through the rubble in the distant future and stumble across these DVD boxed sets, they will obviously conclude that the ambitious, beautiful, career-oriented women kept us around solely because we had the market cornered on fro fluid.

In the fashion of Coetzee’s signature didacticism the novel is rife with allegorical implications but as much as these can be deeply thought-provoking, sometimes they also resemble conveniently inserted contrivances. The American Empire carries that British legacy forward.

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

Not so strange that of “Waiting for the Barbarians” Graham Greene wrote “A remarkable and original book. A mad vision yet a virulent wauting. To readers alive to the major conflicts of the current geopolitical climate, the quotidian brutalities, distortions and injustices that Coetzee lays bare in Waiting for the Barbarians will certainly resonate. And purge these emotions he did through the composition of this slim little novel which can be aptly described as a most heart-wrenching lament on the condition of the world of his times.

View all 11 comments. View the discussion thread. Waiting for the Barbarians is superb and a relatively easy book to read despite its deeper meanings.

Want to Read saving…. Sharif Hamadeh is an advisor with an international development consultancy. He seems to regain part of his whole as he stands up to the brutal agents of the state, albeit at the price of pain, humiliation, and loss of status. Despite those smug pronouncements of the 21st century being an era of a fair and equitable world and the hard battles won in favor of interracial harmony, there’s the fact of your friend barely suppressing a squawk of alarm when you express your admiration for Idris Elba – no female I am acquainted with in real life has learned to wean herself away from the fixation with a white complexion.


Like Cavafy, Coetzee understands that it is against the image of the diabolical dark barbarian that Eurocentric cultures have constructed their own fragile sense of civilization and identity. Without much possibility of a trial during such emergency circumstances, the Magistrate remains in a locked cellar for an indefinite period, experiencing for the first time a near-complete lack of basic freedoms.

Pow rated it it was amazing. Jun 20, Fabian rated it it was amazing. Led by a sinister Colonel Joll, the Third Bureau captures a number of barbarians, brings them waitingg to town, tortures them, kills some of them, and leaves for the capital in order to prepare a larger campaign.

In his capacity as a magistrate of a border-line settlement, he is confronted with the alleged impending attack by the so-called barbarians.

Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee | : Books

Coetzee and this book in particular have become a recurring Goodreads meme of sorts over the last few weeks, so i’m guessing that i’m not alone in this newly emerged obsession. Coetzee Sharif Hamadeh 3 November All the layers of meaning and symbolism could send a cooetzee literature student into paroxysms of pleasure no doubt.

The story of an imaginary Empire, set in ffor unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a version of his country of birth, South Africa, allows Coetzee some esthetic distance from his subject, for even while remaining locked with the history of his moment, he isn’t completely at the mercy Waiting for the Barbarians, my first novel by the recipient Nobel Prize in Literature, was a distinguished piece of fiction, one of urgency and profundity, written with a lingering Faulkneresque prose.

Nobel Media AB For her part, the unnamed barbarian woman says very little. Those who support the empire, such as the Magistrate in this story, are often blissfully, perhaps willingly, unaware of the evil of the empire. View all 5 comments.

Jolted into sympathy for their victims, he commits a quixotic act of rebellion that bran For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. What did you think?

In the meantime, the Magistrate begins to question the legitimacy of imperialism and personally nurses a barbarian girl who was left crippled and partly blinded by the Third Bureau’s torturers.