Age of Iron Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Age of Iron

    An old lady is told that she has cancer, it has affected her bones. She has got a daughter who is now living in the United States, far from South Africa, where she was born and where her mother is living now. The story is developed when Apartheid regime is taking place. The very same day the old woman gets to know about her illness and has a feeling of deep loneliness, she meets a black man, homeless, who has found a place to sleep in her property.
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    A close relationship starts between them. They are no friends, no lovers but they spend together those difficult personal and historical times. Through his fine and delicate narrative, Coetzee deals with the violence that takes place in South Africa during these times and with its impact on human beings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
The review of this Book prepared by Marta Garay

South Africa's apartheid shocks a retired professor, Mrs. Curren, when her maid's black son is murdered by police security forces. Mrs. Curren herself is dying slowly of cancer and she writes letters to her long-gone daughter in a day by day journal form (this book): after a life dedicated to books and culture, the recent murder she's witnessed has also opened her eyes to the horrors of apartheid, which in return is raising a counter attack of the black youth; they might be the begining of an 'age of iron' after the age of clay and stone that their slave parents were.
Mrs. Curren's depression turns into dead calm when she finds a beggar at her door, a man named Vercueil. He only wants food and drinks, but soon after he finds himself becoming fond of this old lady, finally promising to make sure that these letters to her daughter in America will be delivered after she's passed away.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos

Chapter Analysis of Age of Iron

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   racism!!!! Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   African Blacks Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   dying Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Pearls of wisdom from homeless?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   60's-90's    -   long lived adults Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Black Africa    -   White Enclave

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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J.M. Coetzee Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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