It is not until I checked Wiki and found that Coetzee once worked on Ford Madox Ford and Beckett did I start to realize what Foe might be about. Like John Dowell in The Good Soldier, Susan Barton is the narrator who rambles a lot but communicates little. She still remains enigmatic to me, and I am not so sure whether I can believe in her accounts or not. The Beckett influence partly explains some plot arrangement that seems to me arbitrary and out of nowhere, for example, the daughter subplot. It also points me to the theme of silence, reticence, speechlessness, which holds a special place in this novel as Coetzee relates them to power in all manifestations in race, gender and class. The silence he creates in the text is manifold and is in itself a looming presence between the lines. Once a linguist, Coetzee knows how powerful silence is in daily speech.
I do not feel particularly attached to this book, but I have to say it's pretty well written. It grows philosophical at Part III and has an explosive ending that disrupts the whole novel (almost makes me shout out WTF). I wish I could finish Robinson Crusoe before reading this. The book can be read on its own, but having some knowledge about Crusoe would have the additional fun in reading since Foe can be a bit dry sometimes......Continua