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Jonathan Faull Considers the Role of Cricket in Australia’s Coetzee Conspiracy

AustraliaIn an article for Africa is a Country, Jonathan Faull reveals his fascination with all-things JM Coetzee, a category which now includes Coetzee’s contribution to the book Australia: Story of a Cricket Country.

Faull is at first wary that Australia: Story of a Cricket Country may be a sign of Coetzee’s increasing Australian patriotism and a part of what he calls the “Australian conspiracy” to develop Coetzee as an “Australian writer”. Faull is relieved, then, to learn that Coetzee’s essay in the collection concerns South African’s 1952 tour of Australia:

It was with some intrigue that my J.M. Coetzee google alert recently informed me that the elusive author had published something new; this time, apparently, in a contribution to a book celebrating, of all things, Australian cricket.

I have an acquaintance in Cape Town – a professor at a well-known South African university – who, in a vain attempt to divine the inner life of Coetzee, allegedly took to pilfering trash from the rubbish bins outside his Rondebosch apartment. If the apocryphal memory serves, it did little to cast light on the famously private author: yes, he is a vegetarian, and, yes, he would throw away untold invitations to public, or semi-public, events.

Such is desperation of the Coetzeephile, for it is an unrequited love – stealing on scraps in the wake of a stubborn and professional recluse. I confess my allegiance to this flock. It has, at times, bordered on the obsessive, and, on the rare occasion that I encounter another devotee, it can render dinner party conversation arcane and alienating for the interlopers in our midst.

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