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The Good Story
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J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018. J.M. Coetzee: What relationship do I have with my life history? Am I its conscious author, or should I think of myself as simply a voice uttering with as little interference as possible a stream of words welling up from my interior? Arabella Kurtz: One way of thinking about psychoanalysis is to say that it is aimed at setting free the narrative or autobiographical imagination. The Good Story is a fascinating dialogue about psychotherapy and the art of storytelling between a writer with a long-standing interest in moral psychology and a psychotherapist with training in literary studies. Coetzee and Kurtz consider psychotherapy and its wider social context from different perspectives, but at the heart of both of their approaches is a concern with narrative. Working alone, the writer is in control of the story he or she tells. The therapist, on the other hand, collaborates with the patient in developing an account of the patient's life and identity that is both meaningful and true. In a meeting of minds that is illuminating and thought-provoking, the authors discuss both individual psychology and the psychology of the group: the school classroom, gangs and the settler nation, in which the brutal deeds of ancestors are accommodated into a national story. Drawing on great writers like Cervantes and Dostoevsky and psychoanalysts like Freud and Melanie Klein, Coetzee and Kurtz explore the human capacity for self-examination, our wish to tell our own life stories and the resistances we encounter along the way.
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About the Author

J.M. Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. His work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime, and The Childhood of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice. Arabella Kurtz is a consultant clinical psychologist and is completing psychoanalytic psychotherapy training at the Tavistock Clinic in London. She has held various posts in the National Health Service adult and forensic mental health services and is currently a senior clinical tutor in the University of Leicester clinical psychology training course. Kurtz lives in England.

Reviews

"Coetzee's writing is characteristically spare and penetrating....Kurtz proves both a lucid expositor and an evocative literary stylist, bringing psychoanalytic ideas and practices to life with rare precision and immediacy." --Literary Review "It is the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist's agenda that drives the absorbing discussions of this book. Kurtz's pieces are replies to Coetzee's questions, and as such are insightful for both disciplines." --The Independent (UK) "For any admirer of Coetzee, the collection is a rare opportunity to understand the mind of a writer who almost never speaks at length in his own voice...Kurtz, importantly, is prepared to firmly critique Coetzee...The pleasures of this book lie in the ways they absorb one another's critiques, adjust their claims, and--sometimes--exchange positions."--The New Republic "Coetzee and Kurtz range freely across space and time, from ancient spells of bewitchment to the 'confessions' of celebrities in magazines. Their arguments have a meditative quality, challenging, and helpfully open-ended." --Newsweek Europe "The book is rich throughout with references to literature and philosophy... But it is Coetzee's gift for bottling the essence of his own life which makes for his most potent observations."--Financial Times Praise for THE GOOD STORY "Coetzee's writing is characteristically spare and penetrating....Kurtz proves both a lucid expositor and an evocative literary stylist, bringing psychoanalytic ideas and practices to life with rare precision and immediacy." " Literary Review ""It is the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist's agenda that drives the absorbing discussions of this book. Kurtz's pieces are replies to Coetzee's questions, and as such are insightful for both disciplines." " The Independent (UK) " For any admirer of Coetzee, the collection is a rare opportunity to understand the mind of a writer who almost never speaks at length in his own voice...Kurtz, importantly, is prepared to firmly critique Coetzee...The pleasures of this book lie in the ways they absorb one another s critiques, adjust their claims, and sometimes exchange positions. " The New Republic ""Coetzee and Kurtz range freely across space and time, from ancient spells of bewitchment to the 'confessions' of celebrities in magazines. Their arguments have a meditative quality, challenging, and helpfully open-ended." " Newsweek Europe " The book is rich throughout with references to literature and philosophy... But it is Coetzee s gift for bottling the essence of his own life which makes for his most potent observations. Financial Times"

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