What is extraordinary is when a story acts as an allegory in a vacuum and also attains the timeless quality of relevancy at any given moment. J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians is one of those stories.
On October 26, South African author J.M. Coetzee’s novel Waiting for the Barbarians is published. The unnamed narrator, an imperial magistrate stationed in a colonial settlement on the outskirts of the unspecified “Empire,” enjoys the languorous ease of his privileged position.