The Schooldays of Jesus

The Schooldays of Jesus

by J. M. Coetzee


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The Schooldays of Jesus by J. M. Coetzee


A New York Magazine Best Book of the Year

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735222670
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 790,045
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

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.


Adelaide, Australia

Date of Birth:

February 9, 1940

Place of Birth:

Cape Town, South Africa


B.A., University of Cape Town, 1960; M.A., 1963; Ph.D. in Literature, University of Texas, Austin, 1969

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The Schooldays of Jesus 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“Passion can’t be explained, it can only be experienced. More exactly, it has to be experienced from the inside before it can be understood from the outside” The Schooldays of Jesus is the second book in the Jesus series by award-winning author, J.M.Coetzee. It follows on directly from The Childhood of Jesus and was longlisted for the2016 Man Booker Prize. David, Simon and Ines have left Novilla, perhaps as fugitives. In the town of Estrella, Simon and Ines find work on a farm until the harvest is over, while David spends the days with the children of other workers. Queries about David’s schooling, now that he is almost seven, lead to his enrolment at the Academy of Dance, with tuition funded by the farm’s owners. The owner of the Academy of Dance teaches a philosophy with which Simon finds difficulty: the dances may be beautiful, but calling down numbers from the sky? The relationship that David forms with the Principal Attendant at the ground floor museum also concerns Simon, and he cannot deny feeling hurt by David’s preference for the Academy’s care over that of Ines and himself. In this slightly bizarre, seemingly third-world and possibly post-apocalyptic setting, many of the characters are rather flat and passionless (although less so that in The Childhood of Jesus), often somewhat intriguing but not endearing: their strangeness allows Coetzee to explore their reactions and ideas. Coetzee uses both David’s incessant questions and the encounters his characters have, in various scenarios, with officials, employers, a tutor, patrons, teachers, other parents and random strangers to philosophise about various aspects of life: identity, passion, the reliability of memories, kindness, meat eating, lust, culpability and the state of mind of the perpetrator, being in love, guilt, repentance, and forgiveness. Readers may find allegory and deep meaning in the text (or perhaps not, as it never really becomes clear if there is any, and even readers who have read The Childhood of Jesus may be confused).The ending is, again, rather ambiguous and leaves scope for Coetzee to continue on this philosophical journey with the same characters in further books. At times surreal, often perplexing, this is another unique offering from Coetzee.