Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee

Summary: For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts arrive, however, he witnesses the Empire's cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war. Jolted into sympathy for their victims, he commits a quixotic act of rebellion that brands him an enemy of the state.

J. M. Coetzee's prize-winning novel is a startling allegory of the war between oppressor and oppressed. The Magistrate is not simply a man living through a crisis of conscience in an obscure place in remote times; his situation is that of all men living in unbearable complicity with regimes that ignore justice and decency.

Since this will be a potluck, if you're planning to attend, please let us know what kind of food you plan to bring (side or main dish, salad, bread, dessert, etc.) in your RSVP. I'll send you the address about a week before the meeting. Also, please feel free to bring books you no longer need for a book exchange.

Note: if you sign up and don't get an email with the location and details within the week before, please let me know at [masked]. I don't have your contact information unless you give it to me.

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  • Dave614

    Thanks, Henry. I can get carried away in book discussions and didn't know how it came off, especially after relating the conversation to a friend afterward. Good feedback for me, hope to qualify for December's meeting.

    November 23, 2013

  • Dave614

    Thanks, Catherine. I think the major ideas in this book are discomforting, and I'm always a little in awe when an author can put it out there and make it work the way Coetzee does here. So I was eager to point that out, but in my eagerness may have misread the room badly. That's all.

    November 22, 2013

    • Henry

      Dave, I didn't feel that you misread the room and you didn't make me uncomfortable. I thought you made valuable contributions to the discussion.

      November 22, 2013

  • Henry

    This was an enjoyable and illuminating discussion.

    November 21, 2013

  • Dave614

    I may have made others uncomfortable with some of my comments on this provocative book I love, comments which ranged far afield from standard discussion territory. As a friend has pointed out, my passions are not always pretty. Sometimes, I would add, not even to me. My apologies.

    November 20, 2013

    • Catherine

      I don't think you have anything to apologize for. Passionately held views make for a good discussion. I think we all came away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the book. At least I know I did.

      November 20, 2013

  • Cynthia

    Good eats and a great discussion. Thanks for helping me understand the book. I was baffled, how could anybody like this book, now I know. Henry did a fantastic job impersonation Elaine. Thanks for facilitating the conversation. Welcome to the two new members, Tekla and Helene. See you all next month.

    November 18, 2013

  • Suzanne

    I did not realize I automatically went from "waiting list" to "yes," so I apologize for the late change.

    November 17, 2013

    • JUDITH

      hopefully I can go to the next meeting

      November 17, 2013

    • Elaine

      Not to worry, Suzanne and Judith. I'm sorry you got off the waiting list so late and understand that you weren't able to come for that reason. Hope we get to see you next time!

      November 18, 2013

  • JUDITH

    See you all next time in December

    November 17, 2013

  • JUDITH

    the confirmation came a little too late.

    November 17, 2013

  • Catherine

    I'll bring a salad.

    1 · November 13, 2013

  • Cynthia

    Missed you last month Robert, glad to see you will be coming to this meeting.

    November 9, 2013

  • Helene B.

    I'll bring an appetizer..

    1 · November 10, 2013

  • Lynn

    Still in recovery mode and most regretably must miss this meeting, hopefully I am on list for next month. I apologize for any inconvenience. Lynn

    November 10, 2013

    • Elaine

      So sorry to hear that. Please feel better soon. Thanks for letting us know. See you next time!

      November 10, 2013

  • Jill

    I'm going to relinquish my spot with this lovely group in November. Try as I might, I can't seem to wade through the 155 pages of this book (?). Great premise, difficult presentation. Will be back next month!

    November 10, 2013

    • Elaine

      Thanks so much for letting us know, Jill. I know you'll be missed, but I hate so much to see people unable to come because there's a waiting list. See you next time!

      November 10, 2013

  • Eunice K.

    Tough streak on attendance. We will be out of town that weekend. See you in December everyone.

    November 4, 2013

    • Elaine

      Thanks for letting us know, Eunice.

      November 5, 2013

  • Rita G.

    Would love to join the conversation. I've read most all of his works and find his writing most interesting. My dish of choice is a salad.
    R. Gadwa.

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • Adelaide M.

    Wine.

    1 · October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Coetzee is such a gifted Author. I've read 3 books. Unfortunately- I think for a while at least that is my limit. A bit too dark and heavy for me. I will need to wait a while to pick up another. He is a great author. Make sure you have people and pets to bring light back into your life:-)

    September 24, 2013

  • Chrissy

    I am so sorry I never changed my RSVP. Forgive me and I hope you enjoyed yourselves.

    September 15, 2013

  • Jessica S

    Sorry about the date change... cause now I'll be out of town on Nov. 17th... see you guys in Oct!

    September 8, 2013

    • Elaine

      Sorry to hear that, Jessica. We'll miss you!

      September 8, 2013

  • Eunice K.

    vegan salad

    1 · August 26, 2013

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