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"Waiting for the Barbarians" by JM Coetzee

  • Gaja Changgo Beer & Wine (가자 창고 맥주 & 와인)

    50 Itaewonro 27 gagil, Yongsan-gu 서울 용산구 이태원로27가길 50, Seoul (map)

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  • Itaewon Book Club is back in business! Everyone who enjoys great world literature is welcome!

    JM Coetzee is arguably the most famous and respected South African author writing today.  With a background of vigorously opposing the Vietnam war and aparteid,  "Waiting for the Barbiarians" is an eerily accurate allegory of imperialism's dark shadow.

    Set in an imaginary outpost at the edge of civilization, our protagonist has peacefully managed his border town and overseen loosely cordial relations with the "barbarians" not far from their gates.

    One day, the Empire's secret police arrive and inform him that the barbarians are about to unleash a ruinous war upon the small border town.  The only way to prevent the slaughter is for them to investigate as they see fit.

    What follows is (in the words of the Nobel Prize Committee) "a political thriller in the tradition of Joseph Conrad, in which the idealist's naivete, opens the gates to horror."

    Penguin books has selected "Waiting for the Barbarians" for its list of "Great Books of the 20th century."

    This week, we will read chapters 5 and 6.


    To get to the place go straight out exit 1 (the exit with the Hamilton Hotel on its side) from Itaewon Station. Go past the first side street on your right and take the second side street up the hill. When you get to the intersection you will see a building across the street with Fat Alberts, and Sam Ryan's signs hanging on it. It's the same building on the third floor. You can take the stairs that you see immediately in front of you as you come to the intersection up and turn left when you reach the 3rd floor.

    We usually purchase our books from a bookstore in Itaewon called What the Book? (

    If you have any questions or need help trying find the place please give me a call. 010-[masked] or e-mail me [masked]

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