To what extent does an author control the lives of his characters? This is the question at the heart of J M Coetzee’s new novel. But alongside it lies another, almost as intriguing: why is the Nobel Laureate’s writing so much easier to admire than to enjoy?
Slow Man begins with an accident in which Paul Rayment, a morose retired photographer living in Adelaide, is knocked off his bicycle. He has no family, so when he returns from hospital with an amputated leg he requires a nurse-cum-housekeeper to look after him. This he finds in the shape of Marijana Jokić, a matronly, married Croatian with whom he falls in love.