Only the Big Questions

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    There's no point looking to Coetzee for clarification. He failed to show up for his Booker award ceremonies, and who knows whether he'll show up in Stockholm on Dec. 10 for his Nobel. The protagonist of his latest novel, Elizabeth Costello, herself a postmodern novelist, might offer some clues as to his thoughts. On being picked for a literary prize, she says, "I should have asked them to forget the ceremony and send the check in the mail."

    Rian Malan is the author of My Traitor's Heart, published in 1990 by Atlantic Monthly Press. He lives in Cape Town

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