I wanted to like the book. I tried to like the book. It had come recommended by Bonnie, who is seldom wrong about book. She liked it a lot. I didn't.
. . . .
The premise is interesting enough, and I did like the first couple of chapters. A sixtyish-year-old man riding a bicycle is hit by a car in the very first sentence. As a result of the accident, he loses a leg. The opening part about the accident is captivating. The time spent in hospital and the early part of his at-home recovery is also interesting. But with the entry into the story and into Paul's life of one Elizabeth Costello, I started to lose interest.
. . . .
Unlike many people who lose a limb, Paul rejects the idea of a prosthesis, preferring to hop about his daily life relying on crutches. The hospital equivalent of social services (the book is set in Australia) provides him an in-home helper who doesn't work out. After a couple more mismatches, Marijana is sent and Paul finds himself falling in love with her and becoming inappropriately involved with her family.
. . . .
This is the first Coetzee novel I've read, and to be fair, I suspect if I'd read his earlier work, particularly Elizabeth Costello, I wouldn't have given up. But it wasn't clear to me how this woman came to intrude on his life, why he put up with her, or -- indeed -- whether she and her prescriptions are real or fantasy. Reviewers liked the book. I found it to be a peculiar juxtaposition of excellent writing and a story that just didn't captivate. I gave up midway.