"'El Polaco' is the second of Coetzee’s novels to appear in Spanish first, but he began privileging translations much earlier..."
"... in his career: in the past twenty years, he’s seen to it that many of his books be made available in Dutch before any other language. Fêted in Amsterdam in 2010, Coetzee expressed appreciation at being 'read in a language in which I feel myself to be a somewhat more humorous writer than in the original English.' 'Humorous' is far less commonly applied to his writing than adjectives like 'cold,' 'austere,' 'rigorous,' 'spare'; Martin Amis famously described his style as 'predicated on transmitting absolutely no pleasure.' But to his enthusiasts Coetzee transmits a great deal of pleasure—in his outwardly severe, circumscribed manner—and exhibits an abiding if vanishingly subtle sense of humor...."
Writes Colin Marshall in "J. M. Coetzee’s War Against Global English/What lies behind the celebrated South African writer’s decision to publish his latest novel in Spanish before making it available in English?" (The New Yorker).
But it's not all about humor. In fact, it seems more like that predication on absolutely no pleasure that Amis talked about:
"'I do not like the way in which English is taking over the world,' [Coetzee said]... 'I do not like the way in which it crushes the minor languages that it finds in its path. I don’t like its universalist pretensions, by which I mean its uninterrogated belief that the world is as it seems to be in the mirror of the English language. I don’t like the arrogance that this situation breeds in its native speakers. Therefore, I do what little I can to resist the hegemony of the English language.'"