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Play of Passions single work   essay   review  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Play of Passions
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'In the Myth of Er, told or retold by Socrates at the end of Plato’s “Republic,” we learn that after death souls are reincarnated only after crossing Lethe, the River of Oblivion. In his 2013 novel “The Childhood of Jesus” and now in its sequel, “The Schooldays of Jesus,” J.M. Coetzee has written a pair of stylistically realistic novels with, however, a Lethe premise more at home in myth. Everyone in the Spanish-speaking country where these novels are set has arrived by ship, and the voyage has washed every immigrant’s memory clean of all recollection of a previous life. Page by page, the larger portion of both novels is taken up by quasi-Platonic dialogues that struggle back toward a-Lethe-ia — Greek for “truth,” a truth left behind on the far side of Lethe. But, by a brilliant turn, the central symposiasts are Simón, a man in his 40s, and Davíd, a boy who is 5 as “Childhood” opens and 7 as “Schooldays” ends.' (Introduction)

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Last amended 27 Feb 2017 08:44:40
13 Play of Passionssmall AustLit logo The New York Times Book Review
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