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Breyten Breytenbach
'Summertime' by J.M. Coetzee
'Summertime' by J.M. Coetzee

Summertime J.M. Coetzee Viking: 266 pp., $26.50 Fortunately "The Tempest" has no sixth act. What could Shakespeare have made out of Prospero after he broke his wand and renounced his magic? Just another pensioner with nothing to do but hang around, rehash old miracles, talk about himself. J.M. Coetzee, after a string of severe, demanding, sometimes parched, often-brilliant novels, has been turning inward. Two years ago, the journey led to "Diary of a Bad Year," whose central character, C., is barely even the writer's alter ego (strike the "alter"). Odd, and in some ways awkward, the novel is wonderfully serious fun: Coetzee alternately wrestling with...

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