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Youth - John Maxwell Coetzee

Youth is a novel written by John Maxell Coetzee and published in 2002. Although written in the third person, the central character of Youth is a fictionalized rendering of the author himself. In the unquiet South Africa of the 1950s, the protagonist looks forward to escaping from a social and cultural milieu he finds suffocating. Al his early life is devoted to carrying out his plan. He studies mathematics and poetry, he saves money and experiences loveless relations with several women, which he perceives as a sort of rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. When he settles in London, he feels his dreams might be coming true. Once there, he thinks he will soon be free of his homeland, he will become a poet, and fins true love. Reality proves drastically different from what he had been thinking and he experiences hardship and loneliness .
He takes up a computer programming job he hates, which however supplies his basic needs and gives him time to read English literature and visit British Museum. He doesn't lose hope, though. He does his best to make his South African accent less recognizable , but he still feels a stranger in indifferent London. The novel ends with the youth about to make a crucial decision to study in the USA. He finally seems ready to accept a connection to another on equal terms.

Moreover, the protagonist realizes his homeland is on the verge of a revolution and he directly experiences the atmosphere of racial tensions and imminent violence around him. In the story we have highlighted the reasons why he decides to leave his native country and move to London. One afternoon he is tutoring first-year students at the Mathematics Department when something happens.

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