Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians
Waiting for the Barbarians
Author: J. M. Coetzee
For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy with the victims and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison, branded as an enemy of the stat...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780140061109
ISBN-10: 014006110X
Publication Date: 4/29/1982
Pages: 160
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 23 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review
Read All 2 Book Reviews of "Waiting for the Barbarians"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed Waiting for the Barbarians on + 813 more book reviews
His prose is great; real English. Unlike Paton and Gordimer, he actually uses quotation marks. But for the story. It's narrator is a magistrate at a rural settlement who hopes to retire before the real trouble starts; not unlike our politicians and business gurus. The setting is supposedly South Africa where the {evil} Empire awaits an uprising of the nomadic tribesthe barbarians. The first two parts dwell on the Empire's use of torture and the narrator's sexual habits, most of which occur in the mind of the reader. Frankly, it became quite tedious. Part three is a pre-spring trek to the nomadic lands, rather reminiscent of something from Jack London. In part four the narrator is imprisoned and undergoes the tortureso realistic this time that I might be reading Darkness At Noon, or an escapade of Torquemada. For the remainder of the novel the barbarians seem to be wining and the settlement waits for the other shoe to drop leaving me with mixed emotions about the book.
seaoftranquillity avatar reviewed Waiting for the Barbarians on + 16 more book reviews
One man's struggle with what it means to be a civilized man and do the moral thing.