“Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa)


Although readers found the protagonist highly unappealing and they had difficulty engaging with Lucy and some of the other secondary characters, they enjoyed the book very much, describing it as extremely well written and rich. They felt it was a story with many layers needing a number of readings to fully appreciate all it has to offer. They liked the evolution of Lurie, whose flawed nature reveals slight redeeming characteristics as the story proceeds. They thought that Lucy’s farm hand, turned co-proprietor, Petrus, although thinly portrayed, represented one of the faces of the new South Africa. They also felt that the author created a vivid impression of racial tensions in a post-apartheid South Africa, especially through the strained relationship between Petrus and Lurie. One reader found the putting to sleep of the dogs in the story highly significant. Overall, the book averaged an 8.8 out of 10, the highest score of season 12!

The theme this season is “Book to Film Adaptations”. Released in 2008, the film adaptation is directed by Steve Jacobs and stars John Malkovich in the role of David Lurie. Everybody agreed that Malkovich’s performance was excellent and that he was perfectly cast. They particularly liked the interactions between the father and daughter. They enjoyed the music and found the scenery beautiful. They felt the photography enhanced the vastness of the country. They thought the film depicted well the book and that it was a very good adaptation.


David Lurie, a twice-divorced, middle-aged English professor finds himself increasingly unable to resist affairs with his female students. When reported to the college authorities, he is expected to apologise and repent in an effort to save his job, but he refuses to become a scapegoat in what he see as a show trial designed to reinforce a stringent political correctness… Read more 

Season 12 – “Book to Film Adaptations” (Sep 2010 – Jan 2011)

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd (U.S.)
“Before Night Falls” by Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba)
“Brick Lane” by Monica Ali (U.K.)
“Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa) *

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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