“Diary of a Bad Year” by J.M.Coetzee


“Miscellany” – the term Coetzee uses for this work. “Unlike a novel, it has no beginning or end.”

This book is divided into 2 parts: Part 1- Strong Opinions that expresses his opinions on 31 different topics and Part 2: Second Diary that expresses his soft opinions on 24 different topics. Every page in the book is also divided into 3 sections: the first section is his opinion; second section his narration as he gets his booked typed from the hot secretary -Anya and the third section Anya’s perspective.  Reading this was slightly difficult as when you read page by page then due to different sections continuity is lost. Thus it is best to read section by section for the entire book

Coetzee’s writing style is usually simple and direct-no superfluous language, no surrealism. Most protagonists are camouflaged reflections of the author but Coetzee, in most books including this one, doesn’t even try to camouflage his protagonist. “Senor C” is how he is addressed by Anya. He repaints his own image as the old reclusive author and many of his recurring opinions like meat-eating figure in this work as well.

After reading so many of his works I can relate to him, his characters, his style of writing and his opinions. Thus there was nothing fresh about this book but I was not bored and really enjoyed reading it, perhaps because Coetzee offers an honest piece of himself in every book. Reading every book makes me feel closer to him; akin to the intimacy you feel on meeting a person several times and still enjoy hearing his/ her honest opinions.

In this book he converses with you, opening up, expressing his opinions. I do not wish to review this book but wish to converse back, let him know my opinions. Hence in the following blog I will perhaps express my opinions, on topics that he may or may not have put forth in his book. Thus I am continuing the conversation channel that might not reach him but might trigger more conversation paths.

This blog is random musings after all so I will add some randomness to it!!

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A dreamer. An intellectual, spoiled by the world of literature trying to find sanity through traveling and expression through Visual Art and writing! Hope you like my expressions on this blog!!

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