Census | Granta

  • Published: 22/03/2018
  • ISBN: 9781783783762
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages

Census

Jesse Ball

‘CENSUS is a vital testament to selfless love; a psalm to commonplace miracles; and a mysterious evolving metaphor. So kind, it aches.’ David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

A father and son who are census takers journey across a nameless country from the town of A to the town of Z in the wake of the father’s fatal diagnosis. Knowing that his time is menacingly short, the father takes his son, who requires close and constant adult guidance, on this trip of indefinite length. Their feelings for each other are challenged and bolstered as they move in and out of a variety of homes, meeting a variety of different people. Census is about the ways in which people react to the son’s condition, to the son as a person in the world. It is about discrimination and acceptance, kindness and art, education and love. It is a profoundly moving novel, glowing with wisdom and grace, roaring with a desire to change the world.

An eloquent illustration of the ways in which communication and human interaction can often forgo words and letters... honest and successful

Varsity

The Author

Jesse Ball (b. 1978, New York) is known for absurd and philosophical works of social criticism, often in the form of novels. His prize-winning books have been published in many languages. Since 2007 he has been on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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From the Same Author

The Divers' Game

Jesse Ball

A pair of girls, Lethe and Lois, navigates the perimeters of a segregated city, armed with canisters of killing gas. Another child, Lessen, is at the centre of a bizarre cultural ritual that could be the subject of a Goya painting.

Centring on the garish festivals of an allegorical nation, The Divers’ Game moves through worlds in which kindness is no longer meaningful. A scathing indictment of the inequalities of Western society, it makes visible the violence that has threaded its way into every aspect of our lives, and the radical empathy we need to combat it.

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The Repeat Room

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‘The place was so squat and pitiless, so endless, repetitive, fluorescent.’

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Drawings of Monsters

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‘When I was 4 or 5 I sent the Queen of England drawings of monsters.’

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Jesse Ball & Josie Mitchell

‘Confusion is the only natural response to the world, the alternative would be to just fall in with everyone else’s plans.’