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Patrick Flanery Reviews The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee

The Childhood of JesusVerdict: carrot

If J.M. Coetzee’s new novel is, as its title suggests, about the Biblical Jesus, it is so only at several removes, and frequently parodic ones at that.“The Childhood of Jesus” seems in some ways a return to the dystopian impulses behind the Nobel laureate’s 1980 classic, “Waiting for the Barbarians.” In the earliest drafts of that novel, white South Africans retreat to Robben Island, home of the notorious apartheid-era prison, where they await United Nations boats to carry them into exile. Now, in “The Childhood of Jesus,” displaced characters are once again delivered to a new world.

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