Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee: A Book Review


“Truth is not spoken in anger. Truth is spoken, if it ever comes to be spoken, in love. The gaze of love is not deluded. It sees what is best in the beloved even when what is best in the beloved finds it hard to emerge into the light.”
J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man

This is my first book of JM Coetzee. I found it impressive, for he was able to put his themes into a genre with beautiful sentences and vocabulary, intended to spin your mind around, to ponder over the enigmatic scenes, to lead you to the plot until you get sick and tired of it. In other words, it is a matter of deeper concentration. If I were a writer, I would write such a novel. In fact, this book reminds me of one of my favorite novelists, E. L. Doctorow. It may be the reason why Coetzee  has won Booker  Prize twice and Nobel  Prize for Literature as well. I am now more curious about his other best-sellers.

Coetzee’s book basically deals with what kind of life it is in your 60’s. It can give you the realization that life is a matter of choice. While you are growing up, explore the needs which can mold your self-fulfillment before you reach your 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s when you ask yourself what kind of life you have had . In SLOW MAN, Paul’s life is full of questions- regrets, disappointment, and immorality. Therefore, while you are still young, do now the fundamental needs in our life: affiliation needs and achievement needs. ( smiles)

Despite the fact that the book is steeped in beautiful sentences- I did not even notice the author himself use constructed sentences- the sequence of the stories becomes self-righteous and somehow monotonous. To read the beginning is page-turning until you reach the climax where you get tired of the quizzical argument between Paul and Costello as though I tried to make it through the ending which is so disappointing.

Aside from the moral lessons on existentialism, I learned from this book more that there is no such perfect person. Who are you to judge the people around?

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It’s ok.)



  1. I have not read this Coetzee book but I would say that some of his books are more readily appreciated by younger readers, others as you get older. Of his two Booker winners I found The Life and Times of Michael K less gripping than Disgrace which I hit at the right point in my life. The latter is definitely a middle-aged or older man’s book (women too but some find the main character very hard to emphasize with. He is not likeable but that is not always the point.

    Liked by 1 person

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