Following on from the collection Stranger Shores
, Inner Workings
gathers together Coetzee's literary essays from 2000 to 2005 and displays the breathtaking range of his reading. The collection begins with a discussion of writers such as Italo Svevo and Bruno Schulz who lived through the Austro-Hungarian fin de siècle and felt the influence of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Freud.
Coetzee then moves to explore the work of six of twentieth-century-German literature's greatest writers, including Günter Grass and W.G. Sebald, followed by essays on Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and on the short fiction of Samuel Beckett, a writer whom Coetzee has long admired. American literature is strongly represented from Walt Whitman, through William Faulkner, Saul Bellow and Arthur Miller to Philip Roth. Lastly, Coetzee looks at the work of three fellow Nobel laureates: Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel García Márquez and V.S. Naipaul.