Late style in J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year

26 Nov 2013

J.M. Coetzee’s post-millennial writing has been marked by new forms of inventiveness, formal risk-taking and narrative experimentation that have blurred the boundaries between fiction, autobiography and social commentary. Using the example of the novel Diary of a Bad Year (2007), it is argued that this latter fiction is exemplary of Edward Said’s idea of “late style”, accounting not only for Coetzee’s surprising venture into explicit political commentary, but also his narrative minimalism. The paper looks carefully at the content and style of Coetzee’s novel, contrasting its descriptive technique with earlier fictions.