The reader starts to feel that something else needs to happen, that this novel needs to somehow change our understanding of the original. When that move arrives, it manages to feel both organic and just right, providing a meaningful and necessary twist on the Coetzee text ... What some readers might identify as Lacuna’s flaws are exactly what others could praise as its strengths. Generally, you’re the kind of reader who either goes in for a feminist revision or you’re not. Though I think of myself as the former, I have to admit that I started reading Lacuna feeling suspicious of its project. I worried that Snyckers would oversimplify the complex morality of the Coetzee novel. Most of all, I think I was won over yet again by that tone of literary and moral authority I mentioned above, and how easy it is to mistake one for the other. Because after reading Lacuna, it seemed to me that Coetzee’s moral vision is ultimately more blinkered than complex. Snyckers calls for an entirely different vision, one that doesn’t resort to using rape as a metaphor for anything.
Snyckers’ Lucy would like Synckers’ Coetzee—a figure akin to the real-life author but also understood as a fiction in his own right—to acknowledge the ways in which his appropriation of her narrative was a secondary reenactment of her trauma. Her quest for that reckoning becomes the central hinge upon which this surprising, subtle, and deeply challenging book swings ... A novel that questions the right of an author to appropriate stories as it defends the right of the character to live them.