Waiting for the barbarians Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Waiting for the barbarians

The Magistrate lives peacefully in a garrison of the Empire located in the frontier of a country (South Africa is never mentioned, though suggested), which from time to time has been attacked by barbarians. The arrival of a general from the big city, however, brings horror to the town, dragging in barbarians to be tortured and reveal plots against the Empire.
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Soon after, the Magistrate feels attracted to one of the barbarian women. She's been left one-eyed and injured in one foot. The Magistrate takes care of her and the gossip spreads among the settlers.

The military authorities in the big city hear about it, and the Magistrate is punished by the same Empire he defended: he's exposed to public shame, isolated, tortured to reveal the 'attack plans' he made with the barbarians and the woman, and finally freed, but condemned to live like a beggar.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos

Chapter Analysis of Waiting for the barbarians

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   surviving repressive dictatorship Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   40's-50's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   White Enclave Misc setting    -   fort/military installation

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and 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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