One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coetzee's "Youth": Love Affairs as Landmarks

Even roadsigns. Hard to say.

Youth has this in common with Summertime: the story of Coetzee's young Coetzee is largely told via the love affairs collected (stumbled onto) along the way. Given the times ('60s), the boredom of working at IBM (and wanting something more, other), the isolation that comes with being a foreigner, and the protagonist's credo: I don't believe in God, but I believe in love (maybe Coetzee states it more eloquently; maybe it's a little more complicated than that) -- perhaps it all makes sense.

An excerpt:
What of the woman who is to be his fate? Is her shadow already stored in his inner darkness? How much longer before she reveals herself? When she does, will he be prepared?
     What the answer is he cannot say. But if he can meet her as an equal, her, the Destined One, then their lovemaking will be unexampled, that he is sure of, an ecstasy bordering on death; and when he returns to life afterwards it will be as a new being, transformed. A flash of extinction like the touching of opposite poles, like the mating of twins; then the slow rebirth. He must be ready for it. Readiness is all.

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