‘Face to face with time’ conveysthe way Coetzee puts fiction between himself and history, between himself and his mortality. It does this in highly self-conscious ways, with the result that Coetzee criticism is filled with commentary on the novels’ metafictional qualities – the writing about writing. The most trenchant of the purposes of Coetzee’s metafiction, however, is that it is the means whereby he challenges himself with sharply existential questions, such as, Is there room for me, and my history, in this book? If not, what am I doing? The book must in some sense answer to the mystery of its author’s being. Coetzee’s writing is a huge existential enterprise, grounded in fictionalized autobiography. In this enterprise the texts marked as autobiography are continuous with those marked as fiction – only the degree of fictionalization varies. ──David Attwell, J.M.Coetzee and the Life of Writing, p2.