Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review Tuesday: 'Disgrace'

Today’s ‘Review Tuesday’. The Nobel Prize in Literature [1], inaugurated in 1901, has been awarded to 107 Nobel Laureates [2]. The Booker Prize [3], inaugurated in 1969, has been awarded to 43 writers [4]. Only four writers have won a Nobel and Booker (i.e. V S Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, William Golding and J M Coetzee) [5]. Further, Coetzee [6] was the first to win the Booker twice [7] (the only other’s Peter Carey). So self-evidently Coetzee’s a top-notch writer. Last 11 December I saw the movie Disgrace and rated it four stars. As it was adapted from Coetzee’s 1999 Booker Prize winning novel of the same name [8, 9], I had to read the book. So I did. And I loved it. I found it more satisfying than the movie. It’s beautifully crafted, as you’d expect from a winner of a Nobel and two Bookers. With minor exceptions, the book’s scenes/dialogue and the film’s are identical. I haven’t seen many movies adapted from books I’ve read. But in Disgrace’s case I preferred the book. The main reason’s because it’s pure Coetzee whereas the movie’s inevitably an interpretation, and thus a distortion, of Coetzee’s ‘blueprint’. Also I have the type of mind that prefers the active process of converting the written word to mental images, to the passive process of watching and listening to a movie. I’ve read a few other works by Nobel Laureates and Booker winners. One of my 2011 resolutions is to read more of them.

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