Monday 10 February 2014

Coaltown Jesus

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 24.95
ISBN 9780763662288
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Deeply moving and often funny, this sparse verse is clever, philosophical and reflective. Writing a verse novel is an art and gifted poet Ron Koertge has created something significant that should not be overlooked.

Walker’s brother Noah has recently suicided. Walker can’t understand why with his mother’s nursing home full of people waiting to ‘check out’, Noah gets taken. His mother is broken, and Walker calls for divine intervention to put her together again.

Jesus appears, but only the boy can see and speak to him. The casual and friendly conversations between Jesus and Walker expose Noah’s life, the trauma his passing has left behind, and the growing detachment between mother and surviving son. The use of the Jesus figure is a unique device which complements and soothes this immensely interesting novel about grief and loss.

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