One can’t write about DISGRACE.
What does one say of a novel that ironically, but very truly, houses language as gracefully as
And yet, in that employment, there is an effortlessness that makes one wonder at the gargantuan effort this grand novelist, J.M. Coetzee, might have made in stringing sentences together for a situation and setting that is anything but English.
A reading of DISGRACE strips us off our own honour a little bit, I think. Even if only to ourselves. We are exposed to our own fractured, emasculated, helpless realities.
We live in a world, where whether we do wrong or right, disrepute, fate, falsities and the loss of freedom can fall upon us anytime. Our honour may therefore, only be safe in our humility.
It gets hard. We get used to the hard. And we also get used to the hard never ceasing to be hard, often getting harder.
And then, we get hardened.
But that doesn’t always happen.
Beating against the Hard is a hitherto indestructible thing called Love.
And in its lessons, revelations, revolutions and ability to let go,
A lot of our grace can be preserved and prolonged.
Failure finds us more often than success. The latter is a curtain, a surface, a mask to camouflage the former. And through those troughs, we philosophize and find meaning where it may at first seem like there is none.
DISGRACE, one may guess, is about being put in one’s place, being put out of one’s place and therefore, displaced, as well as being pulled down more than a few places.
It is about discrimination, recrimination, retribution and redemption without certainty of salvation.
But then again, we know we’re all “going to end up in a hole in the ground”. And so, the choices we make – to be bad or good or to change, between our extraction and our interment or our inurning, are ours to make.
They are ours to make, from our own truths, hopefully directed out of disgrace and always toward respect – for others and ourselves.
Writing this piece is an act of desperation,
Motivated in some great part by the paralysis that sets in when “acting” isn’t a possibility but writing certainly is.
When you see yourself, in DISGRACE, you freeze.
And then perhaps,
You release from pores unopened until now;
You heal, as you feel;
You know what you did not;
You are humbled:
You pay heed where you did not;
You are compassionate where you were not;
Most of all, you stop denying respect where you did
Read this novel, because language, love and the language of love reign.
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