disgrace - coetzeeA book which is both hard-hitting yet subtle, Disgrace is a simultaneously uncomfortable and beyond-compelling read. After ageing university professor David Lurie seduces one of his young students, he loses his post at the university, leading to exile and the slow disintegration of his life. Several themes run through this book: the tensions between white and black and ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in post-apartheid South Africa; societal break-down, corruption and hopelessness; the angst of sinking into the ignominy of middle age; the cold deconstruction of the Romantic promise and morality; and the self-destructive weaknesses of the male flesh. This book won the Booker Prize for a reason – I keep it on my bookshelf as one of those books I know I will want to read again, and again after that.

Set in South Africa.

Recommended by Tamara Bell.

Buy the book here.