Davíd is a small boy who comes by boat across the ocean to a new country. He has been separated from his parents, and has lost the piece of paper that would have explained everything. On the boat a stranger named Simón takes it upon himself to look after the boy.
On arrival they are assigned new names, new birthdates. They know little Spanish, the language of their new country, and nothing about its customs. They have also suffered a kind of forgetting of old attachments and feelings. They are people without a past.
Simón's goal is to find the boy's mother. He feels sure he will know her when he sees her. And Davíd? He wants to find his mother too but he also wants to understand where he is and how he fits in. He is a boy who is always asking questions.
The Childhood of Jesus is not like any other novel you have read. This beautiful and surprising fable is about childhood, about destiny, about being an outsider. It is a novel about the riddle of experience itself.
About the Author
J.M. Coetzee was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. His work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life and Times of Michael K, The Master of Petersburg, Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year. He lives in Adelaide.
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Simon and David's turns of fate will stay with you long after having finished the book.
Beautifull paralels with how we think we can treat refugees. A humane tale, a must read.
'Coetzee is a master we scarcely deserve.' Age '...Coetzee gradually, with great intelligence and skill, brings to extraordinary - possibly divine - life an ostensibly simple story.' Weekend Australian 'A theological and philosophical fable of considerable brilliance, power and wit. Coetzee hasn't done anything as fine and beautifully executed as this since Disgrace.' Canberra Times / Age 'Coetzee's characters play with conflicting ideas in a way that is at once disarmingly simple and maddeningly convoluted. The result is a delightful, stimulating puzzle. The Childhood of Jesus is a beautiful yet complex work that will reward the reader handsomely.' -- Mark Rubbo, Readings 'Beautiful but enigmatic fable, written in clean, fierce, present tense prose, seems set in some sort of afterlife...insistently memorable in its spare evocations, it leaves the reader charmed, intrigued, impressed and curious, with much compulsively to ponder.' Adelaide Advertiser '[A] quiet, haunting novel...Coetzee's calm, emblematic prose lifts the plot into something redolent with metaphor and mystery...Any statement can become a symbol; every event is suffused with potential revelation; something magical is always present and just out of reach...It's a memorable accomplishment, turning the everyday into the almost everlasting.' Weekend Herald (NZ) 'Double Booker Prize-winner Coetzee's fable has a dream-like, Kafkaesque quality. Are we in some kind of heaven, purgatory or simply another staging post of existence? Clear answers are elusive, but this is a riveting, thought-provoking read and surely Coetzee's best novel since Disgrace more than a decade ago.' Daily Mail 'Written with all of Coetzee's penetrating rigour, it will be an early contender for an unprecedented third Booker prize.' Observer 'The Childhood of Jesus represents a return to the allegorical mode that made him famous...a Kafkaesque version of the nativity story...The Childhood of Jesus does ample justice to his giant reputation: it's richly enigmatic, with regular flashes of Coetzee's piercing intelligence.' Guardian '[A] moving but mysterious story of a lost childhood...Is it possible to be deeply affected by a book without really knowing what it's about? Before reading JM Coetzee's new novel I might have said no - but now I'm not so sure...[As] disquieting as it is moving...[All] I can say is that ever since I finished it, it's been going round and round inside my head like nothing else I've read in ages.' Sunday Telegraph 'The sense of calm, furthered by Coetzee's spare prose, is very unsettling...These are not the horrors of Waiting for the Barbarians, this is the horror of banality.' Independent on Sunday 'a breathtaking performance, full of the tears in things and the wonders of which we cannot speak' -- Peter Craven Sydney Review of Books 'Poignant and compassionate...A tale that is by turns irritating and deeply satisfying, philosophically soaring yet earthy, maddeningly vague and mercilessly precise.' 4.5 stars Good Reading 'It must be clear immediately and to every reader that this is not a novel but a book of puzzles, a Socratic cipher for political philosophers and a riddle for allegorists; but there are even more puzzles, and more kinds of puzzle, in this book than might be apparent on first reading. In The Childhood of Jesus Coetzee has given us not a crowd-pleasing ethical conscience-wrestling match but a philosopher's stone, an enigma for the ages. It is a miracle of a minor sort, or a welcome accident of literary history, that this forbiddingly intellectual book will be read by a large audience; it will be a pleasure to see what we can make of it.' LA Review of Books
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 7th March 2013
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3