Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize

A brilliant new work of fiction from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year

A young English biographer is researching a book about the late South African writer John Coetzee, focusing on Coetzee in his thirties, at a time when he was living in a rundown cottage in the Cape Town suburbs with his widowed father-a time, the biographer is convinced, when Coetzee was finding himself as a writer. Never having met the man himself, the biographer interviews five people who knew Coetzee well, including a married woman with whom he had an affair, his cousin Margot, and a Brazilian dancer whose daughter took English lessons with him. These accounts add up to an image of an awkward, reserved, and bookish young man who finds it hard to make meaningful connections with the people around him.

Summertime is an inventive and inspired work of fiction that allows J.M. Coetzee to imagine his own life with a critical and unsparing eye, revealing painful moral struggles and attempts to come to grips with what it means to care for another human being. Incisive, elegant, and often surprisingly funny, Summertime is a compelling work by one of today's most esteemed writers.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780670021383
Characteristics: 266 p. ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 31, 2014

A well crafted autobiographical novel. Definitely worth reading.

Feb 25, 2013

This book is narrated by women and men in Coetzee's life via personal interviews, yet written by Coetzee. Coetzee is a complex character in this novel, as no one can reach his core. Is he a reliable narrator? I found myself amazed at Coetzee's ability to be introspective. At the same time, it's sad, because Coetzee is so misunderstood, yet near the end, one of his characters (who is Coetzee writing as a former lover/colleague) gives us insight into Coetzee's thinking. Incredibly humbling, and I doubt that many authors would be able to pull this off. I loved it! We all just want the author to find love and passion in someone or something.

Jul 27, 2012

Very clever. The narrator is Coetzee's biographer using diary fragments and interviews with Coetzee's friends.

Apr 25, 2012

definitely read the reviews. I enjoyed as always, but, again, not up there with Disgrace in my opinion.

Dec 17, 2009

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2009. I was a bit perturbed when I began reading to realize this is the third volume in a series...but it didn't matter in the least, that I hadn't read the first two books (Childhood, and Youth). Told from a very clever perspective - it was fascinating.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top