- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143125761
- ISBN-13: 978-0143125761
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Childhood of Jesus: A Novel Paperback – July 29, 2014
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Starred Review. In this captivating and provocative new novel, a small boy who has been renamed David, and Simón, the man who has become David's caretaker since David was separated from his mother, have immigrated to a nameless country. Simón soon finds work on the docks, is given an apartment for new arrivals, and sets about the impossible task of finding David's mother, whose name they do not know and whose face the boy does not remember. One day, Simón glimpses a woman inside a wealthy household—a woman who very likely isn't David's mother—and becomes instantly, illogically convinced that she should raise the child. He approaches her intent on convincing her to be a mother to David; what unfolds is their story: mistakes made in the name of love and choices no one would wish to encounter. Most fascinating is the timeless, almost placeless country itself, which provides the immigrants with essentials–food, shelter, education, and modest employment–but denies them what Simón discovers matters most: irony, sensuality, intensity, and opinion. At times, the questions driving the allegory become almost too explicit, as when Simón asks a woman with whom he has just done the disappointing business of sex if the price we pay for this new life, the price of forgetting, may be too high? As in the past, Coetzee's (Disgrace) precise prose is at once rich and austere, lean and textured, deceptively straightforward and yet expansive, as he considers what is required, not just of the body, but by the heart. Agent: Rema Dilanyan, Peter Lampack Agency. (Sept.) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* With this powerful and puzzling novel, Nobel laureate Coetzee pivots away from the overtly autobiographical (or quasi-autobiographical, or anti-autobiographical) themes with which he experiments in Summertime (2009) and other recent works, and returns to the allegorical focus that defined Waiting for the Barbarians (1982) and other early works. David, an apparent orphan, and Simón, his guardian of sorts, arrive together in Novilla, a socialist-utopian city where the food is bland—bread and flavorless bean paste, mostly—and passionate love has been forgotten and is not missed. The people are mostly kind and prone to philosophical discourse, but Simón longs for meat and spices and eros, and no one quite knows what to do with young David, who has some unusual talents but also argues with his teachers about whether the rules of mathematics apply to him. Readers new to Coetzee may find this to be somewhat more accessible than some of his other novels, but with its curious tapestry of biblical themes, modern social commentary and ambivalent humanism, The Childhood of Jesus may actually be one of his most enigmatic. It will surely be discussed for years to come. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This Nobel laureate always creates a buzz with every new book, and expect his publisher to amplify the buzz. --Brendan Driscoll --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
In this book, Simon, our narrator, is "washed clean" of his life's memories as he arrives by ship into a new world order, and with a five year old boy in tow over whom he is guardian. Unlike other residents of this new world, vestiges of his former self (thoughts of sex and love mostly) compete with the less-conflicted washed clean memories of those who surround him at work and at his apartment complex, forcing an occasional challenge on the new order of things as relates to love, companionship, progress, obedience, etc. Complicating this is the emerging mindfulness of his five year old thumb-sucking "son" David, who questions everything relentlessly, free from any past memory of what a childhood should be, and unburdened by thought of a future and its goal-orientations. Worth every word! I hope you will enjoy it.
Most recent customer reviews
Well, that was my experience when I finished THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS, which is the ninth novel by the...Read more