Michael K is a socially awkward individual who experiences rejection from all spheres of life including his own family. Born with a cleft lip, in Cape Town, Michael is despised by his mother who views him as her disfigurement and opts to put him in institutions for most of his life until she becomes terminally ill.
He tries to take her to her rural hometown of Prince Albert but she dies in hospital before they arrive. Michael continues with the journey until he gets to the designated farm where he experiences more racism and humiliation because of his deformity.
J.M. Coetzee takes the reader on a sad journey to reflect life normally experienced by those regarded as ‘different’ by society. In spite of his mother’s cruelty towards him Michael still loved her until she took her final breath.