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The Death of Jesus: Book summary and reviews of The Death of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee

The Death of Jesus

by J.M. Coetzee

The Death of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee X
The Death of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
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  • Published in USA  May 2020
    208 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

After The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus, the Nobel prize-winning author completes his haunting trilogy with a new masterwork, The Death of Jesus.

In Estrella, David has grown to be a tall ten-year-old who is a natural at soccer, and loves kicking a ball around with his friends. His father Simón and Bolívar the dog usually watch while his mother Inés now works in a fashion boutique. David still asks many questions, challenging his parents, and any authority figure in his life. In dancing class at the Academy of Music he dances as he chooses. He refuses to do sums and will not read any books except Don Quixote.

One day Julio Fabricante, the director of a nearby orphanage, invites David and his friends to form a proper soccer team. David decides he will leave Simón and Inés to live with Julio, but before long he succumbs to a mysterious illness. In The Death of Jesus, J. M. Coetzee continues to explore the meaning of a world empty of memory but brimming with questions.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Though a veritable house of interpretative mirrors, as many of Coetzee's novels are, this one points readers to a less cerebral, more visceral intimacy with the losses it contemplates." - Booklist (starred review)

"Coetzee's simple, clean prose is guided by philosophical questions, and Simon's humanistic reflections provide a thrilling contrast to David's bumpy journey of faith and acceptance of his mortality. This is an ambitious and satisfying conclusion." - Publishers Weekly

"Coetzee's tone is flat and matter-of-fact throughout, and the book feels slightly underdone, with several unanswered questions—the most central of them that message, at which we can only guess. For Coetzee completists, though not up to masterworks like Waiting for the Barbarians and Life & Times of Michael K." - Kirkus Reviews

"Anything J.M. Coetzee writes deserves our full attention...The Death of Jesus is full of truth, irreducible, tearfully moving to read." - Evening Standard (UK)

"Any new novel from Coetzee commands respect, and the final part of the trilogy is no exception...The Death of Jesus constantly challenges what we believe and why." - Mail on Sunday (UK)

"The Death of Jesus is fiction of an order that dazzles the mind and leaves the heart questing and reaching out for the power and profundity of what is at some remote level a restatement, even if it is a bewildering one, of what we traditionally think of as the greatest story ever told." - The Sydney Morning Herald

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Author Information

J.M. Coetzee Author Biography

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, J. M. Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a PhD degree in literature. In 1972, he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands; Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa's highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award; and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essay collections. He has won many other literary prizes, including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize, and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999, he ...

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Name Pronunciation
J.M. Coetzee: kuut-SEE (different pronunciations can be found, but this is how Coetzee himself pronounces it)

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