What Child Is This?

The Childhood of Jesus
J. M. Coetzee
Viking, $26.95, 277 pp.

Over the summer, my local bookseller was reading through the advance galleys that had shown up at her store. After going through several much-hyped novels scheduled for fall release, she came upon The Childhood of Jesus, the new novel by J. M. Coetzee, and she told me that she found herself immediately in a different order of art—of philosophical inquiry and linguistic power.

Around 2003 I had a...

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About the Author

Gabriel Brownstein, associate professor of English at St. John’s University, is the author of two works of fiction. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W (W. W. Norton & Co.) won the PEN/Hemingway Award in 2002. His novel The Man from Beyond (W. W. Norton & Co.) was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and one of Booklist’s Top 10 Historical Novels in 2005.