NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY
The New York Times - The Chicago Reader - Nylon - The Boston Globe - The Huffington Post - The Rumpus - The AV Club - Southern Living - The Millions - Buzzfeed - Esquire
A powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns
When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn't have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son--a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.
Traveling into the country, through towns named only by ascending letters of the alphabet, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience. While some townspeople welcome them into their homes, others who bear the physical brand of past censuses on their ribs are wary of their presence. When they press toward the edges of civilization, the landscape grows wilder, and the towns grow farther apart and more blighted by industrial decay. As they approach "Z," the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And just how will he learn to say good-bye to his son?
Mysterious and evocative, Census is a novel about free will, grief, the power of memory, and the ferocity of parental love, from one of our most captivating young writers.
`Ball indulges our natural curiosity about what's real and simultaneously repudiates the idea that it matters. This is a writer too interested in the transformative power of language to come down on one banal side or the other.' * Age * `A novel that is simultaneously powerful and elusive, whose dreamlike textures and sense of dislocation lend its reflection of our own fears genuine power, suggesting not just unsettling questions about our own unease about suffering, but also probing the uncertain intersection of fiction and reality, memory and imagination.' * Australian on A Cure for Suicide * `Subtle and breathtaking.' * New York Times on A Cure for Suicide * `A poet by trade, Ball understands the economy of language better than most fiction writers today.' * Huffington Post * `Jesse Ball [is] among our most compelling and daring writers today.' * LA Review of Books * `A young genius who hits all of the right notes.' * Chicago Tribune * `Strange, brief, beguiling...Ball's talents, both as a storyteller and a writer of prose, tend to burst the borders of his structures.' * James Wood, New Yorker, on Silence Once Begun *
Jesse Ball (1978-). Novelist, absurdist. Born in New York. His many and varied works are beloved in a dozen languages.