The Childhood of Jesus (Hardcover)
A major new novel from the Nobel Prizewinning author of Waiting for the Barbarians, The Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace
Nobel laureate and two-time Booker Prize winner J. M. Coetzee returns with a haunting and surprising novel about childhood and destiny that is sure to rank with his classic novels.
Separated from his mother as a passenger on a boat bound for a new land, David is a boy who is quite literally adrift. The piece of paper explaining his situation is lost, but a fellow passenger, Simón, vows to look after the boy. When the boat docks, David and Simón are issued new names, new birthdays, and virtually a whole new life.
Strangers in a strange land, knowing nothing of their surroundings, nor the language or customs, they are determined to find David’s mother. Though the boy has no memory of her, Simón is certain he will recognize her at first sight. But after we find her,” David asks, what are we here for?”
An eerie allegorical tale told largely through dialogue, The Childhood of Jesus is a literary feata novel of ideas that is also a tender, compelling narrative. Coetzee’s many fans will celebrate his return while new readers will find The Childhood of Jesus an intriguing introduction to the work of a true master.
About the Author
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa s highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain s prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Praise for The Childhood of Jesus
“[The Childhood of Jesus] plunges us at once into a mysterious and dreamlike terrain….A Kafka-inspired parable of the quest for meaning itself.”—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review (front page)
“A return to form….[Coetzee’s] most brisk and dazzling book.”—Benjamin Lytal, The Daily Beast
“Compelling—eerie, tautly written.”—Los Angeles Times
“[Coetzee] is a consummate withholder, one of the great masters of the unsaid and the inexplicit.”—The New York Review of Books
“Gripping from the very first page.”—Bookforum
“[Coetzee’s] great talent has always been to make the reader…feel as though he is writing for her alone, challenging her to ask herself the same questions he puts to his characters….The Childhood of Jesus…explores the enduring question of what a just and compassionate world might look like.”—The Nation
“[Coetzee] uses his icy, pitch-perfect prose to create a mysterious, Kafkaesque world….utterly enigmatic.”—Mother Jones (Best Books of 2013)
“[The Childhood of Jesus] is the story of a boy named David….His character is both uniquely and universally profound. In one moment, he is like no child to have ever existed. In the next moment, he captures perfectly the essence of all children, everywhere.”—The Atlantic (Best Books Read This Year)
“The Childhood of Jesus—this cryptic, mythic, haunting fable—ranks among J. M. Coetzee’s best.”—The Chicago Tribune
“With this powerful and puzzling novel, Nobel laureate Coetzee…returns to the allegorical focus that defined Waiting for the Barbarians.”—Booklist (starred)
“Captivating and provocative….Coetzee’s 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.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“At once lucid and elusive….The prose is clear and flat in the special way that Coetzee has perfected.”—David Sexton, London Evening Standard (UK)
“Pure, simple prose….Vividly real.”—Sunday Express (UK)
“Beautifully put together,”—The Spectator (UK)
“The inspiring gospel according to J. M. Coetzee.”—The Herald (UK)