The modern classic from double Booker Prize winner J.M. Coetzee – soon to be a major film starring Mark Rylance, Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp
For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy with the victims and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison, branded as an enemy of the state. Waiting for the Barbarians is an allegory of oppressor and oppressed. Not just a man living through a crisis of conscience in an obscure place in remote times, the Magistrate is an analogue of all men living in complicity with regimes that ignore justice and decency.
Brilliant . . . The story of an imaginary Empire, set in an unspecified place and time . . . A realistic fable, at once exciting and economical . . . A distinguished piece of fiction
A writer of formidable strength. His novel is important not only for its theme but also for the beauty and clarity of his style
I have known few authors who can evoke such a wilderness in the heart of man . . . Coetzee knows the elusive terror of Kafka