Dark Austerity

What he would write if he could, if it were not Mr. Whelan reading it, would be something darker, something that, once it began to flow from his pen, would spread across the page out of control, like spilt ink. Like spilt ink, like shadows racing across the face of still water, like lightning crackling across the sky.

Writes J. M. Coetzee in the first in the trilogy of his fictionalised memoirs Boyhood. Stark, haunting and dark as life, Coetzee’s account of the early years of his childhood. Hard to believe that Coetzee packed so much into a mere 166 pages (Vintage paperback). I put the book down to make tea and copy passage after passage into my notebook. A stunning achievement that I shall follow with Youth the second of the trilogy.

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