For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier
settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the
Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he
is jolted into sympathy with the victims and into a quixotic act of
rebellion which lands him in prison, branded as an enemy of the state.
Waiting for the Barbarians is an allegory of oppressor and oppressed. Not
just a man living through a crisis of conscience in an obscure place in
remote times, the Magistrate is an analogue of all men living in complicity
with regimes that ignore justice and decency.

J. M. Coetzee—Waiting For The Barbarians

  • 9780099465935