Saturday, July 01, 2006

John Maxwell Coetzee

I'm revisiting a collection of essays by J.M. Coetzee and am re-enthralled at his brillian prose. (I still haven't got round to reading his fiction despite tc's numerous prompts!)

On The Africans by Ali Mazrui

The camera has no ideology: it will lie on behalf of whoever points it and presses the button; it will lie even more persuasively when there is the right music in the background.
On The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie

If Rushdie's Satanic Verses outraged the dour literalists within Islam, then The Moor's Last Sigh is aimed at the fascist-populist element within the Hindu political movement. On Raman Fielding [a caricature of Bal Thackeray] Rushdie lavishes some of his most stinging satirical prose: 'In his low cane chair with his great belly slung across his knees like a burglar's sack, with his frog's croak of a voice bursting through his fat frog's lips and his little dart of a tongue licking at the edges of his mouth, with his hooded froggy eyes gazing greedily down upon the little beedi-rolls of money with which his quaking petitioners sought to pacify him...he was indeed a Frog King.'
I struggled to page 10 of The Moor's Last Sigh before bailing out; Rushdie's haughty narrator's tone and idionsyncratic style proved unbearable.

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