Before proclaiming J.M.Coetzee a genius, I need to read more of his books, but on the strength of Disgrace and now, Youth, he’s up there in my top 10 writers. And he lives in Adelaide. I cranked through Youth in a few days after weeks of getting to bed too late and playing World of Warcraft. Because I’m riding a lot also, this year is shaping up as one of my least read since I started recording these things in the early 90’s. What is it about books in the third person present with almost no dialogue that attract me? This one details what must surely be an autobiographical account of his early twenties in London in the early 60’s. A lonely, serious young man seeks culture and an intellectual life – and seems to bed a swag of women in the process and finds all of them unloveable. Defiantly warding off all correspondence with family at home in South Africa, he finds works in a computer department for IBM, and tries to write poetry, and finally in desperation, fiction at night. In nearly everything he finds himself to be a failure. Whilst some would find this depressing, I found some parallel’s with my own aspirations and could immediately relate to it. Kim says she read he’s a grumpy, cantakerous old bastard nowdays and reading about this early life angst, I don’t doubt it. 4.5 stars.