The Childhood of Jesus is a fictional book authored by Nobel prize and twin winner of Man Booker prize, J.M Coetzee. This is the latest release of the South African author, coming in the shelf in late 2013. After reading Disgrace & The Slow man by him, I was very excited to have my hands on his other works & choose it to accompany me on a long train journey last fortnight.
The plot follows the man, who has emigrated to an unnamed territory in search of a new life. He accompanies a kid, who is separated from his mother in the same voyage. The man takes the moral responsibility to find kid’s mother. On arrival to the unnamed country, they are assigned new names and taught Spanish to get along with other natives. In this strange country, everyone is starting fresh, with no memory and no previous attachments. The book moves forward with the search of boy’s mother,his uncertain future and up-bringing in an unusual surrounding.
One of the specialty of Coetzee is his ability to develop raw male characters who are shamelessly honest about their desires and have acceptance about their limitations. He keeps his USP intact in this book as well but he failed to fill the emptiness of the plot by the grace of his characters. The book is good enough read but due to high expectations from the author of his caliber, it somehow misses the “Wow-zone” that Coetzee usually penetrate.
Inspite of some hollowness, there are many moments that make you a pause and wonder. It ends with the sudden brakes, giving a jerk to the smooth ride. Overall, for over 300 pages of Coetzee’s writing, nothing is a bad read. I rated The Childhood of Jesus 3/5 stars in goodreads.