Lacuna: a challenging response to JM Coetzee's Disgrace

Lucy lives the life of a celibate hermit, making periodic forays into the outside world in her attempts to find and confront Coetzee

01 April 2019 - 13:53
by Fiona Snyckers.
Lacuna by Fiona Snyckers.
Image: Pan Macmillan

Lucy Lurie is deeply sunk in PTSD following a gang rape at her father’s farmhouse in the Western Cape.

She becomes obsessed with the author John Coetzee, who has made a name for himself by writing Disgrace, a celebrated novel that revolves around the attack on her.

Lucy lives the life of a celibate hermit, making periodic forays into the outside world in her attempts to find and confront Coetzee.

The Lucy of Coetzee’s fictional imaginings is a passive, peaceful creature, almost entirely lacking in agency. She is the lacuna in Coetzee’s novel – the missing piece of the puzzle. Lucy Lurie is no one’s lacuna.

Her attempts to claw back her life, her voice and her agency may be messy and misguided, but she won’t be silenced. Her rape is not a metaphor. This is her story, and no one can take it away from her.

FIONA SNYCKERS is the author of the Trinity series of young adult novels, the Eulalie Park series of mystery novels, and two high-concept thrillers, Now Following You and Spire. She has been long-listed four times for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

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