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 doesnt have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult sona 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,Censusis a novel about free will, grief, the power of memory, and the ferocity of parental love, from one of our most captivating young writers....
|Number of Pages||:||272 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Census » Census|
5+ out of 5.
Ball returns to his more oblique work here (after 2016's much-more-realistic How to Set a Fire and Why) but this book feels as distinct from any other of his works as every other of his works. It is perhaps his best yet - a beautiful, moving portrait: of a father and son, of a child with Down syndrome, of the practice of taking a census, of the relationship between a person and their world. It's also the most loving of letters between siblings. My heart is so full after reading this ...more
I considered giving up once or twice during the first half of this slim book and am very glad I didn't.
‘He is skilfully rendered; observed through the eyes of his father, who is deeply attuned to his son’s moods and tendencies […] There is nothing condescending in how father describes son. It is joyful, honest, funny, smart. Again, I returned to the foreword, and considered how magnificently Ball celebrates his brother’s memory.’
‘Its hopefulness is endearing, its purity shines…warrants a re-read.’
‘Census, Ball’s eighth and latest novel, may be his most emotionally affectin ...more
Jesse Ball is a genius. This is my third book from the author and he never ceases to amaze me.
This book is about an ailing father and his son that go on a road trip to complete the census. However, this book is far more than just that statement.
It's about a son with intellectual disabilities and a father that describes their past experiences while engaging in new memories by travelling and meeting new people. The world created is almost dystopia like without the despair.
I loved that the autho ...more
How prescient this book's title? Census. When was the last time this process generated controversy. A correct census is necessary for so many reasons, but none of them are the focus of Jesse Ball's humane and bewitching novel. The landscape is rustbelt, but with a difference. Our unnamed narrator, a widower, has received a final diagnosis. Having been a surgeon, he is aware of the implications and doesn't question it, and decides to ditch is professional life and take up the position as a census ...more
I am an unabashed fan of Jesse Ball. I’ve read many of his books – The Curfew, The Lesson, Silence Once Begun, A Cure for Suicide, How to Set a Fire & Why – and have often marveled at his metafictional, fablelike, and sometimes provocative works.
But this time it’s personal – for the author and perhaps for this reader, too. Jesse Ball dedicates the book to his deceased brother, Abram Ball, who had Down Syndrome, and in the prologue, writes about the struggle to create this book and how he sol ...more
“My wife and I always spoke of making a trip together to show our son the country, but it never came. For one reason or another, it never came, and so I felt when my wife passed, when the idea rose in me about the census, I felt finally it was time to take out the Stafford, to drive the roads north. In her death, I felt a sure beginning of my own end – I felt I could certainly not last much longer, and so, as life is vested in variety, so we, my son, myself, we had to prolong what life we h ...more
I wanted to like this, but I was disappointed.
There were glimmers of moments where the book could have been fantastic, touching, and interesting, but those moments became lost in a sea of plotless philosophizing about nothing and over-explaining the most inane of things. (For example, I do not care how or why the narrator is bad at puzzles, I'm not sure why any reader would care, and I'm not sure why the narrator chooses to wax on and on for pages about it.) The good moments were almost enough ...more