Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Guardian on J.M. Coetzee's new novel, The Childhood of Jesus

ISBN-10: 0670014656
ISBN-13: 9780670014651
Published: Viking Adult, 09/03/2013
Pages: 288
Language: English
I found Benjamin Markovitz's Guardian review (or maybe non-review?) of J.M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus pretty fascinating, in that it didn't seem to make any definitive judgments at all. It seemed content to stick this game out on the sidelines while everybody else makes their criticisms, which part of me admires -- I've read many a book that didn't really sink in until I'd had time to let it marinate. I have a feeling that the one I'm reading now, Ann Patchett's The Magician's Assistant, will follow that very path.

TL;DR? A choice quote from the review: "What it reminds me of most is Peter Handke's Kaspar – an experimental stage play about the way language restricts the pure freedom of a childish consciousness. But it's also a little like Werner Herzog's movie, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser – a more realist film about an unsocialised man, trying to find his feet in society. Coetzee has always had the enviable ability, in a writer, to make a virtue of his limitations. The prose is very plain; the characters are a little abstract; the questions they ask aren't quite as interesting as they suppose. Coetzee knows all this, but where it leaves the reader I'm not so sure." Sounds almost like Waiting for Godot to me, in its minimalism and metaphor.

I just got my advance reader's copy of the book in the mail this morning, so I'm hoping to have a judgment (or non-judgment) of my own pretty soon.

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