Jeepers creepers! What is JM Coetzee blathering on about this ...

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Jeepers creepers! What is JM Coetzee blathering on about this time?

A critic helps us make some sort of sense of the conclusion to the SA novelist’s ‘Jesus’ trilogy

Tim Smith-Laing

The first thing to say about The Death of Jesus is that the standard rubrics of good and bad do not really apply to it.

This is not to say it is not a good novel; it is. But the term seems a feeble one to use. Coming as the conclusion to JM Coetzee’s Jesus trilogy – which began with The Childhood of Jesus (2013) and continued with The Schooldays of Jesus (2016) – The Death of Jesus is so deliberately enigmatic that it defies most evaluative judgments.

As a whole, the trilogy’s concerns and methods are so entirely removed from those of most contemporary novels that, despite the novelistic pleasures they contain, they make you wonder what novels are even for...

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