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Publisher Description

From the Nobel Prize–winning 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 feat—a 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.

Fiction & Literature
September 3
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Mr. Kawalec ,

A Beautiful Read

An amazing book. Every chapter presented profound ideas in the form of a very simple story. The plot is simple in the way a dream or a parable, with layers of meaning. This is a book best read in bursts, with time between each chapter to savor and digest. Highly recommended.

FedUpNKy ,


I read a lot. Several novels a month. This is my 1st review. I don't review books I read them. This is the first novel that I just couldn't get thru. I stopped after chapter five. Reread the reviews, confirmed my suspicious, and found something else to read.

scratsburg ,

the childhood of jesus

do not waste a nanno second on this. I kept reading hoping that something would make sense and it never does. Beyond a doubt the worst book I ever read and would venture to say ever written

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