Nobel prize-winning South African author J. M. Coetzee has a new book out this fall! Titled The Pole, the novel explores the secret love between a Polish pianist and an arts patron who is married. It was published by Liveright Publishing on September 19.
In a mere 176 pages, Coetzee manages to tell a psychologically complex tale about love, changing relationships, and the complications of memory and truth. The story focuses on the book’s namesake Wittold Walccyzkiecz, a Polish, 70-year-old, white-haired pianist and interpreter of Chopin. He becomes infatuated with an arts patron and banker’s wife Beatriz, who helps organize his concert.
Although Beatriz is initially unimpressed with Wittold, she soon finds herself swept up by him as he sends her letters, travel invites, and even visits her husband’s summer home. As their relationship intensifies, so does the power struggle between them and escalates into a battle of the sexes.
But who is at fault? Is it Beatriz who limits their passion by paralyzing her emotions? Or is it Wittold, the old man at his typewriter, trying to force his dream of love? Coetzee explores the enigmatic nature of romance and complexities of love in this stunning work.
The Pole has already been named one of Vanity Fair’s “Best Books of the Fall” and an example of “late style” by the LA Times. According to The LA Times, Coetzee’s recent novel showcases a shift in his aesthetic choices as he returns to the sparseness of his early writing and fascination with artists as characters.
The 83-year-old Coetzee has entered into his “late style” as he “reminds us of what we wish we didn’t have to remember: that everything dissolves.” While the novel does turn reflective and nihilistic towards the end, Coetzee readers will definitely enjoy the sweet love story that blossoms between these well-written characters.
John Maxwell Coetzee is a South African and Australian novelist, essayist, linguist, and translator. He became an Australian citizen in 2006 and lives in Adelaide. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003 and has won the Booker Prize twice for Disgrace and The Life and Times of Michael K. He has also received the CNA Literary Award (thrice), the Jerusalem Prize, the Prix Femina étranger, and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize.
Congrats to Coetzee on the new book! Buy The Pole here.