According to one reviewer 'the novel is extremely short. It would be possible to polish it off in an afternoon, but reading it that quickly one would fail to take in the complex beauty of Coetzee’s prose.
Within a paragraph Coetzee evokes the emotion and imagery that could easily fill pages by a less succinct writer, but again, the flow is still flawless and it never feels like you’re being forced into appreciating the story.
It takes place on a border hamlet of a vast militaristic and nameless Empire. Themain character is a figure of authority in that little town. The chief fear of the Empire is that the natives who are referred to by all the imperial citizens as “barbarians” are trying to push the Empire out of their lands leading the Empire to launch a preemptive strike, and from that initial fear stem all of the conflicts and relationships found within the novel.
I encourage you to read the novel and analyze it for yourself. 'Waiting for the Barbarians ' is one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone.'
According to the blurb on the back of the book, Peter Carey's 'Parrot and Olivier in America' is a 'dazzlingly inventive and endlessly entertaining novel about freedom, art, friendship and the birth of modern America.
Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatised child of survivors of the revolution. Parrot, the son of an itinerant English printer, wanted to be an artist but has ended up as a servant.
When the young Olivier sets sail for the New World - ostensibly to study its prisons, but in reality to avoid yet another revolution - Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil.
According to Jennifer Byrne, 'once this novel grabs you, it holds you. Heart as well as brain.'