Scenes from Provincial Life – J.M. Coetzee

Scenes from Provincial Life is J.M. Coetzee’s first book I read. I chose to read this book first because it was on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and I couldn’t find anything that could be better than an autobiographical novel to get to know this important author. I did well. Scenes from Provincial Life, formed by three different books, is one of the books to enjoy slowly.


Scenes from Provincial Life - J.M. Coetzee

I read the first two chapters Boyhood and Youth with great pleasure. The author has described his life so pleasantly that you will read it as you listen to gossip that you really cannot refuse.

In the Summertime section, there are interviews with five people picked by a character named Vincent. I have to say that I love all interviews except one. Although most are quite brutal, one cannot help but sympathise with J M Coetzee. A must-read. Enjoy!

Scenes from Provincial Life - J.M. Coetzee

Scenes from Provincial Life

Scenes from Provincial Life brings together, in one volume, J.M. Coetzee’s majestic trilogy of fictionalised memoir, BoyhoodYouth and Summertime

It opens in a small town in the South Africa of the 1940s. We meet a young boy who, at home, is ill at ease with his father and stifled by his mother’s unconditional love. At school he passes every test that is set for him, but he remains wary of his fellow pupils. Later, as a student of mathematics in Cape Town he prepares to escape to Europe and turn himself into an artist. Once in London, however, the reality is dispiriting. Decades on, an English biographer researches a book about the late writer, John Coetzee. As he interviews important figures in Coetzee’s life, a portrait emerges of an awkward outsider who – even after death – remains dogged by rumours.

J M Coetzee

John Maxwell Coetzee is a South African-born novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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