Disgrace Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Disgrace

Set in South Africa, a middle-aged caucasian professor disgraces himself by having an affair with beautiful but much younger female student. The scandal forces him to take a leave of absence and he uses the opportunity to visit his daughter, Lucy in the rural countryside. One day a trio of thugs attacks them at her home. Lucy is gang-raped while her father is beaten and set on fire. While they both survive the attack, they must cope with the aftermath of the traumatic experience.
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The review of this Book prepared by Stephanie

David Laurie is a middle aged teacher at the Technical University of Cape Town. He's twice divorced and he becomes involved in an affair with a young student. The affair is discovered by the girl's parents and there's a scandal around his name. He resigns and he decides to leave his place and retreat to his daughter´s small house in an isolated area.

Lucy, his daughter lives alone there. He knows that she´s lesbian and this makes him wonder about the way he and his ex wife brought her up. The apartheid system has already been abolished.
He and his daughter become victims of a violent attack.

The review of this Book prepared by Marta Garay

David Lurie, the hero of "Disgrace," is a professor at a South African college. He is forced to resign after an affair with one of his students, and he goes to spend some time with his daughter out on a farm in the country. There he hopes to take stock of his life and decide what to do next. While he is there, his daughter is raped by three black South Africans. He tries to get her to leave, but she refuses. Lurie returns to the city, but later when he learns that she has become pregnant and decided to have the baby, he comes back to the farm to try and help her.
The review of this Book prepared by Jack Goodstein

This book tells the story of David Lurie, a South African professor who, after being fired for sexual misconduct, goes to live in a remote area with his daughter. He plans to work on his Byron studies but finds himself getting involved in local dramas. After his daughter is violated by local black neighbors, David is forced to reconsider his views toward women and life in general.
The review of this Book prepared by Deidre Woollard

Prof David Lurie teaches Romantic poetry at the University of Cape Town. At the start of the novel he is visiting a prostitute for a weekly session. However he starts an affair with one of his students who is 30 years his junior. He is intoxicated with her. She however turns sour and her boyfriend threatens David. She then makes an official complaint about David. There is a Committee of Inquiry at which David admits his guilt but refuses to apologise.

He is publicly condemned and loses his job. He then goes to stay with his lesbian daughter Lucy on her small holding in the eastern Cape. He hopes to write an opera about Byron. For a while everything is peaceful and David volunteers at an animal welfare refuge. However one day they are visited by three men who rape Lucy and set fire to David and rob them of their car and valuables. This horrific attack changes their relationship. Lucy withdraws and David fails to understand why she doesn't bring rape charges against the men. David takes over the running of the small holding with the help of Petrus, Lucy's hired hand.

It turns out that one of the attacker's is a brother of one of Petrus' wives. Petrus says the boy is innocent though. When Lucy discovers she is pregnant from the rape Petrus offers to marry her in exchange for the small holding and his protection. David can't comprehend how Lucy can consider marrying Petrus and he offers to pay for her to go to Holland to escape the situation. David also visits the parents of the student he had the affair with and apologises for his behaviour. The novel ends with David putting down his favourite dog at the animal refuge.
The review of this Book prepared by John Marcel

Chapter Analysis of Disgrace

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Daughter Kind of sex:    -   rape    -   lesbians Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Taboo sex story?    -   Yes Lover is    -   much younger/older

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   40's-50's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Black Africa    -   White Enclave Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   rape/molest Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Disgrace

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