Elizabeth Costello is about an author (Elizabeth) who has been asked to give speeches in a couple of different venues. In the book, the author lays out the speech for the reader to read. Costello references real poets, philosophers and other learned people in an attempt to prove her point about various topics. One of these topics, is that humanity right now, is no better than Hitler in its' approach to animals. We herd them into tiny places, kill them with various techniques that are supposedly humane, but in truth we treat them like the Jews to the slaughter in Nazi Germany. She gets lambasted for this 'cheap' comparison, but she stands by what she has said.
Other of her speeches are less inflammatory, but they are still very interesting to read. Though I must admit I'm not familiar with all of the people she refers to in her speeches. I may know their name, but not their philosophical bent. Costello does try to explain the theory she is talking about, so at least you get an idea while reading these speeches about what her point is when she brings them up. In other words, I didn't feel completely lost while reading this book!
Reading this book took me back to college - I felt like I was learning something while reading it. So, if you are looking for an intellectual read that is loosely framed by a fiction story, then this book is it. Otherwise, you might want to skip it.
Rating: 8 / 10
Edition: 1st American Edition