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Reader! Reader!

Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages


Foe - J.M. Coetzee

Foe is a fascinating look at storytelling, biography, memoir, and author's control.


Coetzee looks at all of this through the eyes of Susan Barton—the woman who was cast away and landed on Robinson Crusoe's island. "Huh? There's no woman in Robinson Crusoe!" you say.


No, there's not. But Coetzee has created a story in which Defoe (aka Foe) is a character in the creation of the story of Robinson Crusoe. Because while Robinson Crusoe is seen as a proto-novel or as one of the earliest novels, it very much reads as a journalistic enterprise to us today. And Defoe was also a journalist.


And Coetzee runs with that. Maybe Robinson Crusoe was a person. Maybe Defoe wrote a biography. And maybe because the actual truth was a bit dull and repetitive, he embellished a little, changed a few things.... So Coetzee imagines what the real story behind Defoe's embellished tale is.


A fun read, and I am so glad I read Robinson Crusoe first—and to get the full sense of the story/ies, I think you need to have it fresh in your head. I actually enjoyed this more than Robinson Crusoe.