In a South Africa torn by civil war, Michael K sets out to take his mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity.
Life and Times of Michael K goes to the centre of human experience - the need for an interior, spiritual life, for some connections to the world in which we live, and for purity of vision.
Would you listen to Life and Times of Michael K again? Why?
Yes. I found that the audio was very helpful in building character particularly when it comes to Michael K. From the first page we are told that K has a cleft lip which is an ever-present deformity and it plays into how other characters perceive him. Reading it I would often forget about that, but when Jack Klaff read Micahel K's lines he would have a lisp/deformed speech which would be a constant reminder of how Michael K would be in conversation and how others would hear/perceive him.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Life and Times of Michael K?
The moment his mother dies is heartbreaking; considering that she was all he had in this world.
Have you listened to any of Jack Klaff’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not, but I would/will in the future.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Discussing this book in the anthroposcene context I will always be reminded of Michael K's gardening and relationship with nature.
Read the book a number of years ago, forgot the story for most part but remembered enjoying it. I thought Jack Klaff's narration is excellent, being a native myself, I really enjoyed his character voices. The story itself is typical Coetzee, the writing is terse and direct, but full of wonderful imagination as to the complicated inner life of a seemingly uncomplicated loner.