Research Blog Antarctica #5

Fiction: J.M. Coetzee: Elizabeth Costello (Secker & Warburg, 2003)

I actually started to read this book to get a break from the endless procession of books about Antarctica. I was surprised, and somewhat dismayed, when it turns out that I can’t get out so easily; Antarctica is featured in this novel too, although only as background. The protagonist of the book, an elderly novelist after whom the book is named, has an engagement lecturing on one of the Antarctic cruise ships also featured in Jenny Diski‘s book Skating to Antarctica, featured here earlier. The engagement only lasts for a chapter, but the description is very sharp.

Elizabeth Costello is a wonderful novel, one of the best I’ve read from Coetzee. Considering especially the beautiful economy of his style, I suspect I got more out of it as an example of perfect craftmanship than for what I found in the Antarctica chapter.

Related Post