Coetzee, J M Elizabeth Costello

ISBN 13: 9780099461920

Elizabeth Costello

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9780099461920: Elizabeth Costello

Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded.

Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers' conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience.

She has made her life's work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations.

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Review:

For Australian writer JM Coetzee, winner of two Booker Prizes and the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, the world of receiving literary awards and giving speeches must be such a commonplace that he has put the circuit at the centre of his book, Elizabeth Costello. As the work opens, the eponymous Elizabeth, a fictional novelist, is in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, to receive the Stowe Award. For her speech at the Williamstown's Altona College she chooses the tired topic, "What Is Realism?" and quickly loses her audience in her unfocused discussion of Kafka. From there, readers follow her to a cruise ship where she is virtually imprisoned as a celebrity lecturer to the ship's guests. Next, she is off to Appleton College where she delivers the annual Gates Lecture. Later, she will even attend a graduation speech.

Coetzee has made this project difficult for himself. Occasional writing--writing that includes graduation speeches, acceptance speeches, or even academic lectures--is a less than auspicious form around which to build a long work of fiction. A powerful central character engaged in a challenging stage of life might sustain such a work. Yet, at the start, Coetzee declares that Elizabeth is "old and tired", and her best book, The House on Eccles Street is long in her past. Elizabeth Costello lacks a progressive plot and offers little development over the course of each new performance at the lectern. Readers are given Elizabeth fully formed with only brief glimpses of her past sexual dalliances and literary efforts.

In the end, Elizabeth Costello seems undecided about its own direction. When Elizabeth is brought to a final reckoning at the gates of the afterlife, she begins to suspect that she is actually in hell, "or at least purgatory: a purgatory of clichés". Perhaps Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, which can be read as an extended critique of clichéd writing, is a portrait of this purgatory. While some readers may find Coetzee's philosophical prose sustenance enough on the journey, some will turn back at the gate. --Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com

Review:

"Deals bravely with problems that few other writers dare to think about." (The Guardian)

"Simply burns with creative passion." (The Independent)

“As haunting as anything Coetzee has written.” (The New York Times)

"An important book... Extraordinary." (The Independent on Sunday)

"Richly rewarding." (The Daily Mail)

"Deals bravely with problems that few other writers dare to think about." (The Telegraph)

"A readable and engaging book... Demanding, playful, provocative... hugely enlightening and rewarding." (The Sunday Times)

"New work of fiction from one of our greatest living novelists. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2003 and has twice won the Booker Prize. Explores the life of an Australian writer of international renown." (The Guardian)

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Coetzee, J M
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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 122 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience. She has made her life s work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780099461920

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 122 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Her life has become a series of engagements in sterile conference rooms throughout the world - a private consciousness obliged to reveal itself to a curious public: the presentation of a major award at an American college where she is required to deliver a lecture; a sojourn as the writer in residence on a cruise liner; a visit to her sister, a missionary in Africa, who is receiving an honorary degree, an occasion which both recognise as the final opportunity for effecting some form of reconciliation; and a disquieting appearance at a writers conference in Amsterdam where she finds the subject of her talk unexpectedly amongst the audience. She has made her life s work the study of other people yet now it is she who is the object of scrutiny. But, for her, what matters is the continuing search for a means of articulating her vision and the verdict of future generations. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099461920

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Book Description 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 15mm. Paperback. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining fun.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 240 pages. 0.171. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099461920

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Book Description Vintage Book / Random House, 2004. Book Condition: New. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 14. Weight in Grams: 174. . 2004. New Ed. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099461920

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Book Description Vintage Book / Random House. Book Condition: New. Elizabeth Costello is an Australian writer of international renown. Famous principally for an early novel that established her reputation, she has reached the stage where her remaining function is to be venerated and applauded. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 14. Weight in Grams: 174. . 2004. New Ed. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099461920

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