Jason Cowley

A Modern Shipwreck

Elizabeth Costello

By

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ELIZABETH  COSTELLO IS , like her creator, John Michael Coetzee, a novelist of world renown. She is also, rather like the reclusive, taciturn Coetzee himself, a fugitive. She is in hiding from the world and perhaps also from herself. We meet her in disillusioned old age, a lifetime of steady achievement behind her. She has reached that time of her life when everyone, it seems, wants a piece of her. She is pursued by journalists; she is invited to speak at literary conferences; her work, particularly her most celebrated novel, a recasting of the life of Molly Bloom, is the subject of continual academic scrutiny; and her opinions are endlessly sought on issues ranging from animal rights to the question of evil. All in a day’s work, you might say, for a celebrity writer.

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