The Atom School

Theo Tait

  • The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
    Harvill Secker, 260 pp, £17.99, August 2016, ISBN 978 1 911215 35 6

‘Growing detachment from the world is of course the experience of many writers as they grow older, grow cooler or colder,’ JC, the authorial surrogate in J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (2007), writes.

The texture of their prose becomes thinner, their treatment of character and action more schematic. The syndrome is usually ascribed to a waning of creative power; it is no doubt connected with the attenuation of physical powers, above all the power of desire. Yet from the inside the same development may bear a quite different interpretation: as a liberation, a clearing of the mind to take on more important tasks.

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