In our meeting of January we talked about Summer time by J. M. Coetzee. It was the first time we read a book by the author and we were all excited about its reading. The book is supposed to be autobiographical but there’s something that makes it different from all the traditional autobiographies, the author (Coetzee) in the book is dead and tells us his own story through some people who were important for him in a period of his life and his personal diaries: his years in South Africa.
Julia, a married woman, is the first person to talk about him. Their relationship wasn’t an easy one and in her opinion he wasn’t a good lover and had a difficult time: “But the fact is John wasn’t made for love. There was no way to connect with him” (Julia). Adriana, a woman from Brazil whose daughter is Coetzee’s student ,gives us her disappointing point of view:” In all the time I was with him I never had the feeling I was with an exceptional person”. As the book goes on we continue knowing about its author through his lovers, sister and colleague at university. In fact Coetzee is giving us a kaleidoscopic biography where different points of view meet.
It’s only in the end and through his diaries that we read about Coetzee’s personal opinion in important matters as the apartheid and his difficult relationship with his father. We enjoyed the meeting and again the book was a nice excuse to share our own ideas.