“Suppose a vast number of civilizations are distributed throughout the universe, on the order of the number of detectable stars. Lots and lots of them. Those civilizations make up the body of a cosmic society. Cosmic sociology is the study of the nature of this super-society” (p 12).
”The name Beowulf itself, ‘bee-wolf,’ apparently meaning bear, suggests affinities with a widely known folktale figure of prodigious strength, the Bear’s Son, the distribution of whose appearances, in North America as well as Eurasia, points to a background in that primordial cult of reverence for the bear discussed in Primitive Mythology, and which is still observed among the Ainus of Japan.”
Not only has Coetzee brought David’s character to life and allowed to live his own life the way the character desires, the reader is simultaneously not repulsed but compelled to keep reading, keep digging, keep hoping like David that punishment will not go on forever.