When photographer Paul Rayment loses his leg in a bicycle accident, his solitary life is irrevocably changed whether he likes it or not. Stubbornly refusing a prosthesis, Paul returns to his bachelor’s apartment in Adelaide, Australia, uncomfortable with his new dependency on others. He is given to bouts of hopelessness and resignation as he looks back on his sixty years of life, but his spirits are lifted when he finds himself falling in love with Marijana, his practical, down-to-earth Croatian nurse who is struggling to raise her family in a foreign land. As Paul contemplates how to win her heart, he is visited by the mysterious writer Elizabeth Costello, who challenges Paul to take an active role in his own life.
In this new book, Coetzee offers a profound meditation on what makes us human, on what it means to grow older and reflect on how we have lived our lives. Like all great works of literature, Slow Man is a novel that asks questions but rarely provides answers; it is a portrait of a man in search of truth. Paul Rayment’s accident changes his perspective on life, and as a result, he begins to address the kinds of universal concerns that define us all: What does it mean to do good? What in our lives is ultimately meaningful? Is it more important for one to feel loved or cared for? How do we define the place that we call “home”? In his clear and uncompromising voice, Coetzee struggles with these issues, and the result is a deeply moving story about love and mortality that dazzles the reader on every page.