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Introduction by Michael McGirr
He has escaped South Africa. Everything is going well, he has attained his first goal, he ought to be happy. In fact, as the weeks pass, he finds himself more and more miserable.
In this unforgiving portrait of the artist as a young man, John flees his apartheid-riven homeland for the bleak London of the early 1960s, where he aspires to become a writer. There he becomes trapped in stultifying computer-programming work and brief, unsatisfying affairs, turning ever inwards in the struggle to realise his ambitions. Youth is the second of J. M. Coetzee’s masterly trio of autobiographical novels, Scenes from Provincial Life.
‘Beneath the tranquil flow of the prose is a biting current of irony…This is a funny as well as doomy story.’