LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Observer and Daily Telegraph
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, 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 mesmerising 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.
Compelling, often very funny, full of sudden depths
It is written with the coolness and limpidity that makes Coetzee a master... There were moments where I found it almost too affecting to read
It’s compulsively enigmatic but surprisingly funny too.
Coetzee doesn't want to be understood, or explained. He wants, merely, to be read. The Schooldays of Jesus is, indeed, very readable