Youth (or Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II) (2002) is a semi-fictionalised autobiographical novel by J. M. Coetzee, recounting his struggles in 1960s London after fleeing the political unrest of Cape Town.
After graduating in mathematics and English, he moves in the hope of finding inspiration of becoming a poet and finding the woman of his dreams. However he finds none of this and instead, takes up a tedious job as a computer programmer. He feels alienated from the natives and never settles down, always aware of the scorn they see him with. He engages in a series of affairs, none of them fulfilling to him in the slightest. He scorns people's inabilities to see through his dull exterior into the 'flame' inside him; none of the women he meets evokes in him the passion that, according to him, would allow his artistry to flourish and thus produce great poetry.