Youth – J. M. Coetzee

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“Of the throng on the sidewalks, most are young people. Strictly speaking he is their comtemporary, but he does not feel like that. He feels middle-aged, prematurely middle-aged: one of those bloodless, high-domed, exhausted scholars whose skin flaked at the merest touch. Deeper than that he is still a child, ignorant of his place in the world, frightened, indecisive. What is he doing in this huge, cold city where merely to stay alive means holding tight all the time, trying not to fall?”

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