Private: Elizabeth Costello, in modern-day Ohio?

Judith Kitchen’s The House on Eccles Road bears some similarity to J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello. Kitchen says her novel was inspired by the Nobel Laureate’s Tanner Lectures (published in 1999 as The Lives of Animals by Princeton University Press).

“But then he let her go,” says Kitchen, “in favor of the story he was telling. I simply couldn’t let her go back into the oblivion she inhabited before he brought her, briefly, to life.” And what of Coetzee’s reaction to her borrowing his idea? “I did meet Coetzee after the book was coming out and he seemed pleased that I had followed in his vein. Given how decidedly taciturn he turns out to be, his ‘pleased’ pleased me.”