Saturday, December 15, 2007

New York Times on J. M. Coetzee's Move to Australia

Hark, listen, thou persecuters of authors of their own countries (Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin), here's what Rachel Donaldio writes about nobel-winning JM Coetzee's emigration to Australia from South Africa on the back of criticism of his novel "Disgrace" by the African National Congress as being racist (JM Coetzee' emigration to Australia:

"A host of questions lurk behind that simple sentence. Why would a novelist who has written so powerfully about the land of his birth pack up and leave? Were his 2002 move and his taking of Australian citizenship last year a betrayal of his homeland, or a rejoinder to a country whose new government had denounced one of his most important novels as racist? Was it just another example of the “white flight” that has sent hundreds of thousands of generally affluent South Africans to other Anglophone countries since the end of apartheid? Or was it a tacit acknowledgment that Coetzee had exhausted his South African material, that the next chapter in the country’s history was the rise of the black middle class, and what did an old resistance writer, with his aloof, middle-aged white narrators, know about that?"

Well, hard luck to South Africa and congratulations to Australia, one has gained a nobel-winner and the other has lost one.

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