Michael K [Book Review]

July 1, 2018

Happy 1st of July. Its a new month,  with new goals that we need to accomplish before the end of the year. I have yet another book review of a book I’ve been eyeing the past 2 months and I was happy to receive a review copy from Pan Macmillan SA. So, lets get to it.

Book Details

Title: Michael K || Author: Nthikeng Mohlele || Pages: 138 || Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA || Published: March 2018 || Genre: Fiction


‘Those in the know claim Michael K disembarked from a diesel-smoke-spewing truck one overcast morning, looked around, and without missing a beat, chose a spot where he set down a small bucket (red, burnt and disfigured) that contained an assortment of seedlings, some fisherman’s twine and a rudimentary gardening tool – probably self-made.’

How is it that a character from literary fiction can so alter the landscapes he touches, even as he – in his self-imposed isolation – seeks to avoid them? How is it that Michael K, bewildered and bewildering, can remain so fragile yet so present, so imposing without attempting to be so? In this response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K, Nthikeng Mohlele dabbles in the artistic and speculative in a unique attempt to unpack the dazed and disconnected world of the title character, his solitary ways, his inventiveness, but also to show how astutely Michael K holds up a mirror to those whose paths he inadvertently crosses. Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, thus wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.

My Thoughts

I have never read the book by JM Coetzee; “Life & Times of Michael K” so I started reading this book knowing nothing about Michael K and with nothing to base or compare it against. I would have preferred to have read it beforehand or just something about Michael K.

The writing is just amazing and I think the author did an amazing job. A re-imagining book can be difficult at times because you need to find something unique, so that it stands out and its not just the same as the original book.

I felt like this book was a learning curve for me as its a history-fiction that I know nothing about.

The main con for me was that, I felt it was a bit slow at the beginning, which took me a bit of time to get around.

Overall, its a good read and I’d recommend it but also to familiarize yourself about the story of “Michael K” before reading the book (just a quick google search lol which I didn’t do obviously lol).


This book is available in almost all the bookshops in South Africa, so if you’re interested check them out. For my international followers, please check amazon.

Those were my thoughts, I’d like to know your thoughts as well if you’ve read this book.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a copy.

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Until next time, lets keep reading.

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