Coetzee is on my short list of novelists to be read whenever they have a new novel that comes out. Others on this list include:
There are probably others, but these four are way up there. I make no argument for the others that they are the "best" writers out there. I find them compelling for different reasons. Gibson because I love cyberpunk but need to limit how much I read. Berry because is local agrarian philosophy and evocation of a world I'd love to inhabit, Erdrich because her writing is beautiful and just different enough to push.
But Coetzee keeps going more and more out there, and I'm traveling with him. He's the only author I know of who seems to believe that literature is not salvific. Elizabeth Costello makes an appearance half-way through this novel, and won't go away, and this is exactly what is needed.
I need to find some folks to discuss this one with. It helps in reading this novel to go back and read Elizabeth Costello first, btw. And for those new to Coetzee, I recommend starting with Disgrace or one of his earlier works.