Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II

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Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II
First edition
AuthorJ. M. Coetzee
CountrySouth Africa
GenreAutobiographical novel
Published2002 (Secker and Warburg)
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages176 p.
Preceded byBoyhood 
Followed bySummertime 

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.

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins with the narrator living in Mowbray and studying at the University of Cape Town. After graduating in mathematics and English and in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre he moves to London 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 working for IBM his work including checking punched cards submitted to an IBM 7090 for the TSR-2 project . He seeks refuge in the Third Programme and cinema, falling in love with Monica Vitti. 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. By the end of the book he is working for International Computers on the Atlas project.

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