LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

From the Nobel Prize-winning author J. M. Coetzee, the haunting sequel to The Childhood of Jesus, continuing the journey of Davíd, Simón, and Inés

“When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life. That is how it is. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks at the harbour and we climb down the gangplank and we are plunged into the here and now. Time begins.”

Davíd is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simón and Inés take care of him in their new town, Estrella. He is learning the language; he has begun to make friends. He has the big dog Bolívar to watch over him. But he’ll be seven soon and he should be at school. And so, with the guidance of the three sisters who own the farm where Simón and Inés work, Davíd is enrolled in the Academy of Dance. It’s here, in his new golden dancing slippers, that he learns how to call down the numbers from the sky. But it’s here, too, that he will make troubling discoveries about what grown-ups are capable of. In this mesmerizing allegorical tale, Coetzee deftly grapples with the big questions of growing up, of what it means to be a “parent,” the constant battle between intellect and emotion, and how we choose to live our lives.

Review

“Freed from literary convention, Coetzee writes not to provide answers, but to ask great questions.” —The Economist

“As compelling, and confounding, as its predecessor.” —Booklist (starred)

Praise for J.M. Coetzee and 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 Davíd. . . . 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.” —Chicago Tribune

“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)

About the Author

J. M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003 and is the author of twenty-two books, which have been translated into many languages. He was the first author to twice win the Booker Prize. A native of South Africa, he now lives in Adelaide, Australia.

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