Nadine Gordimer has written of J. M. Coetzee that his “vision goes to the nerve center of being. What he finds there is more than most people will ever know about themselves, and he conveys it with a brilliant writer’s mastery of tension and elegance.” Doubling the Point takes us to the center of that vision. These essays and interviews, documenting Coetzee’s longtime engagement with his own culture, and with modern culture in general, constitute a literary autobiography of striking intellectual, moral, and political force.
Centrally concerned with the form and content of fiction, Doubling the Point provides rigorous insight into the significance of certain writers (particularly modernists such as Kafka, Musil, and Beckett), the value of intellectual movements (from structuralism and structural linguistics on through deconstruction), and the issues of political involvement and responsibility—not only for Coetzee’s own work, but for fiction writing in general. In interviews prefacing each section of the book, Coetzee reflects on the essays to follow and relates them to his life and work. In these interviews editor David Attwell, remarkably well attuned to his subject, prompts from Coetzee answers of extraordinary depth and interest.