The Childhood of Jesus

The Childhood of Jesus


By (author) J. M. Coetzee

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  • Publisher: HARVILL SECKER
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 216mm x 32mm | 460g
  • Publication date: 23 April 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846557267
  • ISBN 13: 9781846557262
  • Sales rank: 56,215

Product description

After crossing oceans, a man and a boy arrive in a new land. Here they are each assigned a name and an age, and held in a camp in the desert while they learn Spanish, the language of their new country. As Simon and David they make their way to the relocation centre in the city of Novilla, where officialdom treats them politely but not necessarily helpfully. Simon finds a job in a grain wharf. The work is unfamiliar and backbreaking, but he soon warms to his stevedore comrades, who during breaks conduct philosophical dialogues on the dignity of labour, and generally take him to their hearts. Now he must set about his task of locating the boy's mother. Though like everyone else who arrives in this new country he seems to be washed clean of all traces of memory, he is convinced he will know her when he sees her. And indeed, while walking with the boy in the countryside Simon catches sight of a woman he is certain is the mother, and persuades her to assume the role. David's new mother comes to realise that he is an exceptional child, a bright, dreamy boy with highly unusual ideas about the world. But the school authorities detect a rebellious streak in him and insist he be sent to a special school far away. His mother refuses to yield him up, and it is Simon who must drive the car as the trio flees across the mountains. The Childhood of Jesus" is a profound, beautiful and continually surprising novel from a very great writer.

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Author information

J. M. Coetzee's work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace, Summertime and The Childhood of Jesus. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.

Review quote

"Allegorical, faintly biblical" -- Sarah Sands Evening Standard "* As ever, JM Coetzee manages to dodge every category with mesmeric cunning... This limpid, gnomic and surprisingly witty tale will take root in your imagination'" -- Boyd Tonkin Independent "There are lots of traditions and tales mixed in - along with mathematics and a wonderfully poetic use of language" Financial Times "Richly enigmatic, with regular flashes of Coetzee's piercing intelligence" -- Theo Tait Guardian "Engaging and thoughtful" -- Theo Hobson Tablet

Editorial reviews

Reading JM Coetzee is like swimming in a sea with a calm surface and a savage undertow. His sentences are lean; his subjects menacing: power, race, animal rights and confession