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Youth ❴Download❵ ➸ Youth Author J.M. Coetzee – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk A searing portrait of a young colonial in early s London from the two time winner of the Booker Prize Set against the background of the s Sharpeville, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam Youth is a rema A searing portrait of a young colonial in early s London from the two time winner of the Booker Prize Set against the background of the s Sharpeville, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam Youth is a remarkable portrait of a consciousness, isolated and adrift, turning in on itself The narrator of Youth, a student in the South Africa of the s, studies mathematics, reads poetry, saves money, trying to ensure that when he escapes to the real world, wherever that may be, he will be prepared to experience life to its full intensity and transform it into art Arriving in London, however, he finds neither poetry nor romance Instead he succumbs to the monotony of life as a computer programmer, from which random, loveless affairs offer no relief Devoid of inspiration, he stops writing An awkward colonial, a constitutional outsider, he begins a dark pilgrimage in which he is continually tested and continually found wanting.


About the Author: J.M. Coetzee

John Maxwell Coetzee is an author and academic from South Africa He became an Australian citizen in after relocating there in A novelist and literary critic as well as a translator, Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.



10 thoughts on “Youth

  1. Lisa Lisa says:

    Ehum Well What can I say This is the tenth novel or so, I just made a quick calculation in my head by Coetzee that I have read, and it leaves me puzzled in a way that the others do not, even though they may be less approachable,brutal and enigmatic This one is clear cut, with simple language and a typical coming of age plot It is very easy to read, and in fact, I finished it in an afternoon But it has left me agonising over its content in a way I did not anticipate at all.There are Ehum Well What can I say This is the tenth novel or so, I just made a quick calculation in my head by Coetzee that I have read, and it leaves me puzzled in a way that the others do not, even though they may be less approachable,brutal and enigmatic This one is clear cut, with simple language and a typical coming of age plot It is very easy to read, and in fact, I finished it in an afternoon But it has left me agonising over its content in a way I did not anticipate at all.There are autobiographical elements in the story of the young man who leaves Cape Town in 1962 to start a new life in London The character is called John, and aspires to become a poet, or writer in general, while trying to fit in by taking a job as a computer programmer So far, so good It is the search of the poet for the right modus vivendi to develop his creativity Where is the problem I absolutely loathed the main character There is no other way to describe what I felt, page after page, digging deeper into his psyche filled with pretentious nothingness and arrogance This makes me wonder what the character meant to the author Does he reflect Coetzee s own development If so, there is a huge amount of prejudice and misogyny in his world view, almost painfully evident in every sentence Or is it a critical analysis of the mindset of the early 1960s, showing the reality of that time ruthlessly in order to make a subtle statement on the era without embracing those attitudes in 2002, when the novel was published I don t know Apart from the problematic relationship of 1960s South Africa to the rest of the world, I was appalled by the stereotypical description of women from Provence, London, small towns in England or Sweden Spiritually, he would feel at home in Stockholm, he suspects But what about Swedish I hate when people assume by hearsay that they know exactly what Sweden is like, and what they can expect of it There seems to be a consensus in the world how to categorise Swedes, and the general common denominator between the analysts is that they have never lived in Sweden or talked to a Swede, or read a Swedish author Yet, they spiritually identify with Stockholm.Swedish women, of course, are useful to young poets in the making with patriarchal instincts and ancient attitudes towards women s roles as muses and sexual objects Because they are creators, artists possess the secret of love The fire that burns in artists is visible to women, by means of an instinctive faculty Women themselves do not have the sacred fire there are exceptions Sappho, Emily Bronte It is in quest of the fire they lack, the fire of love, that women pursue artists and give themselves to them Good artists can hope for Swedish or French muses, while boring poets have to take a local girl, a pert little something from the countryside Judging by the butcher approach of the main character when it comes to all encounters with women, he does not have the creative spark himself, despite his conviction to the contrary.He is literally caught between two worlds the respectable middle class and the bohemian artist life, and he is equally hopeless in both The right thing is boring So he is at an impasse he would rather be bad than boring note from the furious reviewer he is BOTH , has no respect for a person who would rather be bad than boring, and no respect either for the cleverness of being able to put his dilemma neatly into words No respect for anything might be a good summary of the character s mindset The outside world only exists to deliver what he needs to fulfil his literary destiny He offers nothing in return.Leaves me to form a judgment on the novel Clearly Mr Coetzee himself is spiritually at home in Stockholm, as he received the Nobel Prize in Literature from the Swedish Academy in 2003, shortly after he wrote this novel Clearly he has a sharp analytical mind and is able to describe an abject character objectively without raising an eyebrow The story as such is compelling, and most definitely a mirror of what many young men in 1962 would have thought or done It does take a master storyteller to create a portrait of such a man and get the reader to feel so strongly against him, and still want to read on.I will have to reread my Coetzee collection again in order to make a proper evaluation of why I can t make up my mind about this one.The jury is still out Not expected back anytime soon


  2. Gaurav Gaurav says:

    edited on 28.04.19Normal people, when they feel badness flare up within them, drink, swear, commit violence Badness to them like a fever they want it out of their system, they want to go back to being normal But artists have to live with their fever, whatever its nature, good or bad The fever is what makes them artists the fever must be kept alive That is why artists can never be wholly present to the world one eye has always to be turned inwardIs darkness quintessential for a writer to edited on 28.04.19Normal people, when they feel badness flare up within them, drink, swear, commit violence Badness to them like a fever they want it out of their system, they want to go back to being normal But artists have to live with their fever, whatever its nature, good or bad The fever is what makes them artists the fever must be kept alive That is why artists can never be wholly present to the world one eye has always to be turned inwardIs darkness quintessential for a writer to be great For misery and darkness provide food to the part of consciousness where creative muscles flex them Is misery necessary to wrench heart of an author so much so that he feels as if insanity takes over him and to get rid of the insanity he needs to express himself and that s how literature takes birth, one express oneself to get rid of insanity in life The na ve words must pass through furnace of personal tragedy wherein there are processed to form condensed sentences which are potent to enough to express what the author has to say to his readers Are all these pretensions, under the sheath of which an abominable, misogynist young man conceals his pompousness Does an author want to say anything to his reader Perhaps not For he is just expressing the turmoil he feels in consciousness, though he may choose different ways to do it sometimes words are simply used to render the tumult and turbulence he might be going through while sometimes words are deftly used to concoct an escapade which may indirectly covey his thoughts And that s how new art movements have taken birth in the realm of literature Do words exist on their own their being represents an authentic existence and do not require reference without the authors Structuralists might say they do but then post structuralists might come upon fiercely and repudiate it Youth is perhaps one of the most important phases of life for it marks one s outbreak to the world The exuberance of youth makes you feel that there is no such thing in life which is not possible you may conquer the whole world as if you ve dawned on earth for it Misery is his element He is at home in misery like a fish in water If misery were to be abolished, he would not know what to do with himself.There exist a few authors who have masterly fused their personal experiences with elements of fiction to bring up great creations of art built upon tightly woven narrative Coetzee is one of them The book has got all traits and logic of fiction Coetzee creates a believable world and allows autonomous creations to move freely in it In fact, Youth is less a work of imagination than a stylized memoir, in which Coetzee revisits the humiliation and struggle of his early years as a restless student in London John, a young man with lofty literary aspirations through a mathematics degree, a move from a politically unstable South Africa to London where he works towards a Masters degree in literature and begins work as a computer programmer It is torturous tale which is hallmark of youth the desire for glory, for greatness, for artistic achievement and admiration without the tedious work of application as we see normally happens aspirations of people are built on shallow buildings of disregard, inaction and passivity which is shredded to ruin of wishful cravings as soon as quivering of reality struck Coetzee picks up John and the story moves on in third person narrative in present tense which gives it somewhat surreal touch The reader is being taken up into dark recesses of consciousness which constitutes our hero or rather anti hero John wherein the reader is thrown into the abominable soup of disregard, misogyny, self obsession, prejudice, out of which a sharp mirror, which tears apart imaginary artistic tarpaulin of John by profound beams of truth, emerges for him to reflect upon his guilt and shame He has several lovers or should we say infatuations and he writes an awful lot of verse, scarcely any of which we ever see Coetzee here maintains a measured distance from the reader in which everything is told and relayed through the thick filter of John s thoughts Almost all people, whom John meets, act just as objects for achievement of his poetic greatness, as if all those do not have voice of their own, their existence is endowed upon the mercy of John In a perfect world he would sleep only with perfect women, women of perfect femininity yet with a certain darkness at their core that will respond to his own darker self Coetzee s greatness lies in the fact that under the calm veneer of anecdotal narrative of a self absorbed young man he surreptitiously embark upon a tornedo of turmoil in the background of racism, civil war and guilt There is the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, protest marches, the Cold War, and the prelude to the Vietnam war At one point, John even writes to the Chinese Embassy in London offering to teach English in China in an attempt to engage himself in something, which emanates a feeling from his heart to do something positive Africa remains pretty much an unhealed wound in the consciousness of John throughout the story he is being constantly torn between his cravings about money oriented west world and his inability to do something purposeful which gives birth to guilt and shame The pass laws to which Africans and Africans alone are subjected are being tightened even further, and protests are breaking out everywhere In the Transvaal the police fire shots into a crowd, then, in their mad way, go on firing into backs of fleeing men, women and childrenHe knows his mother s opinions She thinks South Africa is misunderstood by the world Blacks in South Africa are better off than anywhere else in Africa The strikes and protests are fomented by communist agitators As for farm labourers who are paid their wages in the form of mealie meal and have to dress their children in jute bags against the winter cold, his mother concedes that this is a disgrace But such things happen only in Transvaal It is the Afrikaners of the Transvaal, with their sullen hatreds and their hard hearts, who give the country such a bad name This is my very first encounter with Coetzee but sufficiently convinced me that he is a writer of deep intelligence which is built upon closely inter woven threads of symbolism and allegory I find his prose somewhat similar to that of Kafka wherein his characters do not follow any moral standards and there is only thing they follow and this to exist, and perhaps in isolation As if they are being thrown into this cruel world of purposelessness by the very first crime of the life and which is birth itelf The prose of Coetzee reminds me of Beckett as his style is built upon concise, condensed sentences which looks like a perfectly tuned musical note, for if you go slightly lower you may not enjoy it, if you go slightly higher it may sound coarse formed out of concentrated meditation about the narrative, like minimalism of Beckett We may say that Coetzee s student, is sustained by immortal longings but for whom truth and beauty are always tantalizingly elsewhere4 5


  3. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Youth Scenes from Provincial Life 2 , J.M CoetzeeYouth or Youth Scenes from Provincial Life II 2002 is a semi fictionalised autobiographical novel by J M Coetzee, recounting his struggles in 1960s London after fleeing the political unrest of Cape Town The story begins with the narrator living in Mowbray and studying at the University of Cape Town After graduating in mathematics and English and in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre he moves to London in the hope of finding inspirati Youth Scenes from Provincial Life 2 , J.M CoetzeeYouth or Youth Scenes from Provincial Life II 2002 is a semi fictionalised autobiographical novel by J M Coetzee, recounting his struggles in 1960s London after fleeing the political unrest of Cape Town The story begins with the narrator living in Mowbray and studying at the University of Cape Town After graduating in mathematics and English and in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre he moves to London in the hope of finding inspiration of becoming a poet and finding the woman of his dreams However he finds none of this and instead, takes up a tedious job as a computer programmer working for IBM his work including checking punched cards submitted to an IBM 7090 for the TSR 2 project He seeks refuge in the Third Programme and cinema, falling in love with Monica Vitti He feels alienated from the natives and never settles down, always aware of the scorn they see him with He engages in a series of affairs, none of them fulfilling to him in the slightest He scorns people s inabilities to see through his dull exterior into the flame inside him none of the women he meets evokes in him the passion that, according to him, would allow his artistry to flourish and thus produce great poetry By the end of the book he is working for International Computers on the Atlas project 2008 1385 176 9648910405 21 1384 290 964442459 202003


  4. Sidharth Vardhan Sidharth Vardhan says:

    This is really a portrait of an artist as a young man pun intended The stupid motivational speakers make it sound too easy when they ask one to chose between passion and money as one s career goal Money here sounds some kind of luxury which one can live without But really, money is what is going to pay the bills And pursuit of arts almost always have a big gestation period before it earns one money And the artist must struggle in poverty in meantime may be live as a financially depend This is really a portrait of an artist as a young man pun intended The stupid motivational speakers make it sound too easy when they ask one to chose between passion and money as one s career goal Money here sounds some kind of luxury which one can live without But really, money is what is going to pay the bills And pursuit of arts almost always have a big gestation period before it earns one money And the artist must struggle in poverty in meantime may be live as a financially dependent John struggles to maintain a balance between what he does to earn and pursuit of his own art The choice he has is between being a bored programmer or a starving artist And he finds himself gradually tilting towards the last Like any young artist, he is visited by doubts how come he hasn t written anything great yet Is he a failure then It is this eternal wait for some muse to take petty on him which forms the main theme of novel.Meanwhile he is also young man and feels frustrated like any young person who is learning to see the world for what it is and not finding it in anyway the bed of roses it was supposed to be Plus like any young man, he grumbles at problem if getting sex regularly In fact, that is one of the attractions of being an artist The women are supposed to just fell in love with and quarrel to be taken by one So sad, it doesn t seem to happen.Plus John s conscience is troubled by the political evil around him and, to which, he steadily seems to be contributingandof unwillingly made to contribute to cold war, of politics in Africa etc.There is so much to relate in this novel Unfortunately, this wait for muse is such a passive thing and so the novel lacks action There is trouble of memoirs shaped into novels so often they are chaotic like real life and lacks necessary symmetry to make a good novel What isCoetzee seems too harsh on himself or the protagonist so often the narrative seems to laughing at the protagonist While once can easily find so many faults with John, the music of inspiration which drives himself seems to have been killed by the cynic narrative


  5. Stephen P Stephen P says:

    Ah, to be welcomed back into the eloquent polished sheen of Coetzee s prose So quickly I join the young man leaving the smothering mother s grasp, himself now grasping to evolve into the blossom of poetry From South Africa to London where culture thrives and he sees himself entering What he finds is a wait He awaits Waiting is what he does His performance A woman will notice him and see all the magic of his creativity locked within his stiff posture and muffled gestures She will unlock w Ah, to be welcomed back into the eloquent polished sheen of Coetzee s prose So quickly I join the young man leaving the smothering mother s grasp, himself now grasping to evolve into the blossom of poetry From South Africa to London where culture thrives and he sees himself entering What he finds is a wait He awaits Waiting is what he does His performance A woman will notice him and see all the magic of his creativity locked within his stiff posture and muffled gestures She will unlock what he knows is there but is knotted The knot cinched tight consists of strands of webbing He has cultured the art of self criticism locking himself in while locking others out This leaves him protected but passive In effect keeping himself safe by keeping others out He is a pro No one enters justifying his beliefs of self criticism completing the circle of his diving further down into his passive withdrawal.I couldn t wait to follow Coetzee removing strand by strand, the ups and downs, John staging the battle to free himself But But But it didn t happen A set piece A concert where the same note is played over and over again, at the end no one sure whether to stand and applaud or walk out I found the aisle and walked out John continued in his self constructed rut This short novel gave the experience of what it is like to be trapped by one s own undoing but nothingThe fact that our protagonist has the same name as the author, for me now looking back, shows Coetzee s own battle writing this piece The piece becoming a piece about itself


  6. Shovelmonkey1 Shovelmonkey1 says:

    From the book cover Set against the background of the 1960 s Sharpeville and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam Youth is a remarkable portrait of a consciousness, isolated and adrift, turning in on itself J.M Coetzee explores a young man s struggle to find his way in the world with tenderness and a fierce clarity.Hmmm.When I first started reading this book my first thought was, Dawsons Creek, with aspergers set in the 1960 s To much youthful angst and introverted navel gazing highlighted by From the book cover Set against the background of the 1960 s Sharpeville and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam Youth is a remarkable portrait of a consciousness, isolated and adrift, turning in on itself J.M Coetzee explores a young man s struggle to find his way in the world with tenderness and a fierce clarity.Hmmm.When I first started reading this book my first thought was, Dawsons Creek, with aspergers set in the 1960 s To much youthful angst and introverted navel gazing highlighted by a tumult of excessive adjectives to describe every thought, every hope, every breath, every aspiration see what i did there Youth is a study of a man who spends too much time believing that he was destined for better things and over analysing the fact that instead of being born as the 1960 s answer Voltaire or Flaubert, he is in fact a computer programmer A wordy testament to the fact that as we get older most of us realise that we are not going to set the world on fire and get on with simply living.The last four lines of the book were a great summary Not convinced it deserved a place on the 1001 books list and I ve since read other Coetzee books which I liked a lot


  7. l. l. says:

    She writes every week but he does not write every week in return That would be too much likereciprocation He has a horror of spilling mere emotion on to the page Once it has begun to spill out he would not know how to stop it It would be like severing an artery and watching one s lifeblood gush out They might as well get married, he and Astrid, then spend the rest of their lives looking after each other like invalids He is chagrined to see how well the reality principle operates, how, She writes every week but he does not write every week in return That would be too much likereciprocation He has a horror of spilling mere emotion on to the page Once it has begun to spill out he would not know how to stop it It would be like severing an artery and watching one s lifeblood gush out They might as well get married, he and Astrid, then spend the rest of their lives looking after each other like invalids He is chagrined to see how well the reality principle operates, how, under the prod of loneliness, the boy with spots settles for the girl with the dull hair and the heavy legs, how everyone, no matter how unlikely, finds, in the end, a partner Without descending into the depths one cannot be an artist But what exactly are the depths He had thought that trudging down icy streets, his heart numb with loneliness, was the depths But perhaps the real depths are different, and come in unexpected form in a flare up of nastiness against a girl in the early hours of the morning, for instance Perhaps the depths that he has wanted to plumb have been within him all the time, closed up in his chest depths of coldness, callousness, caddishness Sorry the word comes heavily out of his mouth, like a stone Does a single word of indeterminate class count as speech Has what occurred between himself and the old man been an instance of human contact, or is it better described as mere social interaction, like the touching of feelers between ants To the old man, certainly, it was nothing All day long the old man stands there with his stacks of papers, muttering angrily to himself he is always waiting for a chance to abuse some passer by Whereas in his own case the memory of that single words will persist for weeks, perhaps for the rest of his life Bumping into people, saying Sorry , getting abused a ruse, a cheap way of forcing a conversation How to trick loneliness What is wrong with him is that he is not prepared to fail


  8. Ariya Ariya says:

    Reading J.M Coetzee s work is somewhat exhausting No matter how you re psyched to think you re in the same current stage in life to master reading a masterpiece, you ll eventually left dumbfounded and coerced to rethink what s come to the life of the character that is hard to articulate Or maybe their life, even so much different than yours, can be terrifyingly comprehensible and it s unbearable not to weight on their decisions as if they were yours to bear Writing such wonderful characters Reading J.M Coetzee s work is somewhat exhausting No matter how you re psyched to think you re in the same current stage in life to master reading a masterpiece, you ll eventually left dumbfounded and coerced to rethink what s come to the life of the character that is hard to articulate Or maybe their life, even so much different than yours, can be terrifyingly comprehensible and it s unbearable not to weight on their decisions as if they were yours to bear Writing such wonderful characters is truly Coetzee s purest gift.The main character in this book is arrogant, idealistic, ignorant and self absorbed as may him be called out He is desperately trying to escape from whose life he is living in by over analysing everything comes between who he is and the definition of what he wants to be the great poet His existence depends on the ideal meaning he s craving to trap himself into The belief that his life is destined for something much greater than he is at the moment manifests him and fosters his ignorance While, so many conditions racial and historical influence hinder his dreams, or what he believes that he could acquire the ability to write, love and care for the other human beings All those are missing throughout the flood of social dilemma, racial bias, xenophobia, and most of all concluded as the sense of alienation by leaving for the motherland to live in the foreign country with the heart full of false hope.Yep, it s pretty much like reading about a white man s delusional crippled mind with the psychoanalysis approach and so many literary criticism which, I could say, is the major fondness I have for this book His taste for poetry is pretty much the same as mine Lol


  9. Ravi Gangwani Ravi Gangwani says:

    I LOVE Coetzee.Nowords are there to express my feelings for him.


  10. notgettingenough notgettingenough says:

    How do bitter and twisted, lonely, emotionally crippled older men start out Men whose relationships, if any, have always soured early, men whose jobs are all that sustain them, mediocre jobs with colleagues who never become friends Men whose strict weekend routines stop loneliness from beingthan an uneasy feeling which never quite comes to the surface Never quite acknowledged.They start out as bitter and twisted Youth In this novel by Coetzee, we see the establishment of such a being, How do bitter and twisted, lonely, emotionally crippled older men start out Men whose relationships, if any, have always soured early, men whose jobs are all that sustain them, mediocre jobs with colleagues who never become friends Men whose strict weekend routines stop loneliness from beingthan an uneasy feeling which never quite comes to the surface Never quite acknowledged.They start out as bitter and twisted Youth In this novel by Coetzee, we see the establishment of such a being, a young man who thinks somehow that his cold alienating ways will make him a poet When it turns out that he has nothingin him than the capacity to be a computer programmer, and an undistinguished one of those, he sees his future as a hollow meaningless thing We do not find out if his life remained the mean and nasty existence he portended.Enter Nagasaki Here we meet a man who might be the person Youth foresaw Towards the end of his nondescript career he is alone, as far as we know he has never had a meaningful relationship with anybody, including his relations When not at work he is at home, when at home, the person he talks to is himself He has no friends, no interests, nothing about him justifies his carbon footprint Like Youth, he is given the opportunity to live, to behave with largesse, to give Like Youth he cannot do that Both of them experience discomfort, unease at their utter meanness of spirit, but neither is capable of being a new person.Is this inevitable Enter Mr Stone of Mr Stone and the Knights Companion rest here


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