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The Master of Petersburg

Introduction by Shannon Burns

History is coming to an end; the old account-books will soon be thrown into the fire; in this dead time between old and new, all things are permitted. He does not believe his answer particularly, does not disbelieve it.

In the fall of 1869, Dostoevsky is summoned from Berlin to St Petersburg by the sudden death of his stepson. Mad with grief, Dostoevsky obsessively unravels Pavel’s life and death, becoming enmeshed in the same demonic conspiracies that claimed the boy. The Master of Petersburg is a daring novel about filial love and hate, authority and rebellion, art and imagination.

J. M. Coetzee
About the Author

J. M. Coetzee was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. His work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, The Master of Petersburg, Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year. He lives in Adelaide.

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Text publication date:
2 July 2019
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Praise for J. M. Coetzee
andThe Master of Petersburg

‘A provocative and ironic exploration of the relation of art and life.’

‘A dark and beautifully imagined novel. Coetzee draws a brilliant portrait of an era of desperation, obsession, and hope.’

‘A fascinating study of the dark mysteries of creativity, grief, relationships between fathers and sons, and of the great Russian themes of love and death.’

‘South Africa’s most brilliant novelist…challenges us to doubt our preconceived notions not only of love but of truth itself.’

Other editions ofThe Master of Petersburg