John Maxwell Coetzee — Waiting for the barbarians
Waiting for the Barbarians is a novel by the South African-born author J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. The novel was published in 1980. It was chosen by Penguin for its series Great Books of the 20th Century and won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for fiction. American composer Philip Glass has also written an opera of the same name based on the book which premiered in September 2005 in Erfurt, Germany.
Coetzee took the title from the poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” by Greek-Egyptian poet Constantine P. Cavafy. It may also be an allusion to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Inspiration from Dino Buzzati’s novel The Tartar Steppe is also evident, both for the title and the plot.