Friday, April 19, 2013

Here and Now by J. M. Coetzee and Paul Auster.

Title- Here and Now.
Author- J. M. Coetzee & Paul Auster.
Publish date- March 2013.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin. (Imprint: Faber)



What I thought:
One of my main thoughts about reading this as a review copy was that I felt a little rushed reading it- if I bought myself a copy I would read a few pages every few days, read the whole thing over the course of a few months, because I felt it was a book I would have loved to savour more than I felt I did.

I am a lover of letter compilations- I don't know when it began or why I have such a passion for them, but I cannot deny that letters compiled into book form are one of my favourite things, and I very much enjoyed this collection, perhaps a little more than I expected-
The letters between J. M. Coetzee and Paul Auster were wonderful- I didn't read the entirety of all the letters, but I felt that was okay and I really enjoyed reading about their thoughts on people, books, films and travel- they ocassionally mentioned their own, and each others books, which was always something I enjoyed, and at one point one of the men went to see the film adaptation of the other's book (I can't quite recall whether it was Coetzee or Auster, I think Auster) and that was really interesting, seeing his thoughts on it after having heard that it wasn't very good (from the author of the adapted work).

The correspondence begins as being letters sent from America to Australia and vice versa, but gradually they begin adding notes in emails and faxing in addition, so reading about that gradual transition was really interesting.
I found fairly quickly that I had a preference for the letters sent by Coetzee, though I can't say why they attracted me.

Overall I did really enjoy Here and Now- it goes without saying that I didn't find myself fully enjoying each letter and, as I say, I skipped sections when I found they didn't appeal to me, but overall my enjoyment went up the longer I read. I would definitely recommend this to readers of the authors work or those who enjoy letter collections.

Rating: Ooh, very good-
I really enjoyed this- I would recommend it and only feel I could have imporved my enjoyment if I could have taken a little longer to read it. I haven't read any of either authors work yet, but this has made me keen to, more so than previously, and I hope that is something I accomplish this year.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!


  1. I don't really like reading letter form but ever since I read The Year of Secret Assignments and currently reading Dracula I think I'm starting to love the form of letters because there's more feeling and depth, even if you have absolutely no idea how the characters look like. And this one sounds no less amazing, though since it's very...nonfictional, I don't think I could stand the boringness of reality and thoughts from REAL people. But I would definitely keep in mind to recommend this to someone who loves something like this. :D

    Ever always wonderful review, Romi! ^^

    1. It was very strange reading things that are so day to day, things so average that they aren't mentioned in fiction.
      I wasn't aware, I don't think at least, that Dracula contains a lot of letters- I listened to seven eights of the audiobook a few years ago, but it was incredibly scratched which is why it was never eight eights. I really wanted to read the book last year, along with Frankenstien, but never got around to it- maybe this year is the year!
      Thanks Delaney, I'm glad you enjoyed it! x

  2. I haven't read very many books in letter-form. Letters always make me think of when I was growing up - since we lived so far away from all our extended family, we used to write to them every fortnight, and it was always so exciting getting letters and packages back. I love when people's personalities really shine through in their writing. It would be interesting, I think, to read some of Coetzee's stuff, since you enjoyed his letters, and see if he has a different style/voice for his books. :-)

    1. I got a bunch of letters from the forties (I think they're from the forties, at least) from a man in France for christmas one year- I haven't yet learnt enough of he language to decipher them, but just knowing that I have that, that they're waiting for me to decipher... it's extrodinary.

      I'm certainly planning to read some Coetzee soon, though I'm not quite sure what to start with. (:

    2. That is an awesome Christmas present!
      How long have you been studying French for?

    3. On and off, seriously, since I was about fifteen. I was so excited to get them- they're so beautiful and old and lovely.


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