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by J.M. Coetzee

David Lurie Timeline and Summary

  • David goes to see Soraya, the prostitute he sleeps with on Thursdays.
  • David sees Soraya and her kids at a restaurant. It makes their relationship awkward and she cancels one of their appointments. Then he never sees her again. He gets a new Soraya but it doesn't work out.
  • David sleeps with Dawn, the secretary.
  • David runs into Melanie Isaacs. He invites her over, makes her dinner, and gets her liquored up. When he asks her to stay over she leaves.
  • David brings Melanie home again and they do it on the floor. Then he sends her carnations.
  • David drives Melanie home, but she doesn't let him come into her apartment.
  • David spies on Melanie at her rehearsal.
  • David shows up at Melanie's apartment unannounced. She tells him, "not now." They do it in her room. Then he leaves and he realizes it was a big mistake.
  • Melanie comes to stay with David without explaining why. They do it in David's daughter's bed.
  • A young man confronts David about his relationship with Melanie. Then his car is vandalized.
  • David gets a notice that one of his students has filed a complaint against him.
  • David goes before the committee and tells them that he pleads guilty to everything that Melanie says happened – without reading her testimony.
  • David refuses to publicly apologize for what happened with Melanie, so he loses his job.
  • David leaves Cape Town to go stay in Salem, on the Eastern Cape, with his daughter Lucy.
  • Lucy takes David to the market with her. He meets Bev and Bill Shaw.
  • David starts helping Bev out at the animal clinic. On his first visit, he sees a goat with an injured scrotum and starts talking to Bev about his state of disgrace.
  • David and Lucy are out for a walk one day when they are approached by two men and a boy. When Lucy goes into the house to let them use the phone but then doesn't come back out, David kicks down the kitchen door.
  • David gets knocked out, dragged across the floor, locked in the bathroom, and lit on fire.
  • David buries all the dogs that were shot.
  • When Petrus finally returns, David tells him about what happened. David thinks it's weird that Petrus doesn't act more shocked or upset.
  • David watches Petrus bring home sheep that he's going to slaughter for his party. He wants to skip the party after realizing that he might have to eat them.
  • Lucy and David go to Petrus's party. They see the boy there. David confronts him and it starts up a ruckus at the party. He and Lucy leave, but then David goes back later and is glad to make everyone uncomfortable.
  • David spends time trying to pick up the pieces – taking care of Lucy and the house and working in the Animal Welfare Clinic with Bev. David becomes in charge of disposing of the remains of the dogs they put to sleep.
  • One day when David and Bev are in the clinic, Bev starts asking him about his affairs. Then he touches her lips with his finger and she kisses his hand. The next day, they do it on the floor of the clinic, even though David's not really into it.
  • The police give David a call and say that they've made arrests in the case and have found his car, so he and Lucy drive out to get it.
  • David tries really hard to get Lucy to do something about what happened – or at least to leave Salem for awhile.
  • On his way back to Cape Town, David stops by Melanie's family's house to talk to her dad. He meets her little sister, who tells David to go see Mr. Isaacs at work. David goes to tell him his side of the story and, to his surprise, Mr. Isaacs invites him over.
  • David goes back to the Isaacs' house and has a really awkward dinner with them. He apologizes for hurting Melanie and for the pain he caused the whole family.
  • When David arrives back in Cape Town, he finds that his house has been trashed.
  • David has two awkward encounters with University folk: he sees Dr. Otto, the new guy taking over his office at the University, and then he sees Elaine Winter at the grocery store.
  • David goes to Melanie's play and runs into Ryan, who tells him to stay away from Melanie. This upsets David, so he goes and hires a prostitute. He feels much better afterwards.
  • On the premise of going back for a "job interview," David goes back to the Eastern Cape. He finds out that Lucy is pregnant.
  • David kicks the crap out of Pollux, who does not take kindly to being beaten up.
  • It's pretty clear at this point that Lucy doesn't want David around anymore. Still, he decides to stick around, so he rents an apartment and buys a pickup truck.
  • David works on his opera about Byron. Lately, a crippled dog has taken a shine to him and follows him around or watches him as he writes and plays music.
  • David decides to put this dog to sleep.