Adam Kirsch at the New York Sun on J. M. Coetzee's latest collection of critical essays. A mixed review:
Only at moments does Mr. Coetzee seem to venture into more personal terrain, as when he describes the dilemma of Svevo as a writer of Triestine dialect. When he asks "whether there might have been Triestine truths that Svevo felt he could never get down on the Italian page," we are reminded of Mr. Coetzee's situation as a speaker of South African English and Afrikaans, who writes a neutral, international style of English. Does Mr. Coetzee also feel an affinity with Joseph Roth, who outlived Austria- Hungary just as Mr. Coetzee outlived the old South Africa? He does not say, and the reader is left to wonder how far Mr. Coetzee's essays on these writers are driven by personal interest, how far by abstract curiosity or editorial urging.