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Census: A Novel

Census: A Novel

Scritto da Jesse Ball

Narrato da Chris Andrew Ciulla


Census: A Novel

Scritto da Jesse Ball

Narrato da Chris Andrew Ciulla

valutazioni:
3.5/5 (23 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Mar 6, 2018
ISBN:
9780062798008
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

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.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Mar 6, 2018
ISBN:
9780062798008
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Jesse Ball was born in New York. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently the novel Census. His works have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a winner of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. He was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and has been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Census

3.4
23 valutazioni / 8 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (2/5)
    I really tried to like this more. I did not succeed. It was so mannered and distant. Staccato and episodic so that even if some of the episodes had flashes of brilliance they would have worked better as flash fiction because they weren't contributing to my sense of this novel.

    The subject matter was so personal and heartbreaking that I couldn't get past the lack of emotion and intimacy in its presentation. It might have been fine as a shorter work, but as a full-length book, it was frustrating and exhausting.
  • (4/5)
    Jesse Ball had a brother with Down Syndrome and as a child, he envisioned taking care of his brother when they were both adults. Sadly, his brother died in his 20s. Ball wrote this book to envision what that life might have been like, with the main character raising a child with Down Syndrome. In the novel, the father knows he is dying, so he and his son set off on a weird road trip. I've heard it took him a week to write this, but if this book was to honor his sweet hearted brother, I feel he should have put a little more work into it. With such a tough subject matter for him, the writing did seem at a remove. The book is one of those 'collection of profound tiny moments' sort of books (see Rachel Khong's 'Goodbye Vitamin'). But of the other from Jesse Ball I've read, he seems to write those sorts of books. This book reminded me of a Tarkovsky movie: the plot makes little sense but the details and imagery are freakin beautiful.
  • (4/5)
    Gratuitous (and gratuitously vague) dystopia setting aside, this book has a really strong emotional core and some beautiful imagery. "Marilyn Robinson's Gilead but in a dystopia road trip setting" is my one line summary... And unfortunately I would so pick Gilead over Census if I had to choose between the two.
  • (4/5)
    In a brief intro, Ball writes that this book is for his older brother, who died at age 24 and had Down Syndrome. Ball has had 20 years to come to terms with his death and the changes that it meant for his own life (he had always known he would be his brother's caretaker, for example), but did not want to write a memoir.This book reads very post-apocalyptic: a dying widowed father and his adult son with Down Syndrome, traveling through towns A to Z, administering the census and tattooing respondents. I think, though, that this book is an allegory. The road is the strange road parents with a disabled child find themselves on. They meet wonderful people who are kind to his son, and happy to have him help them or to entertain him.They meet people who are mean and cruel.They find empty towns.The father decides to do the census differently than he was actually told, because it works better.I'm not sure what the tattoos mean--kinder people are marked by their kindness? Take brief pain for their kindness?In the end, the father puts his son on a train, back to their home and the couple who promised he and his wife they would look after their son. Just as any parent of a severely disabled child must launch them off into the world hoping for the best, and hoping they can trust the people who need to look out for that child.
  • (3/5)
    Another weird Indiespensable special - they just seem to delight in the slightly off-kilter weird genre.A man and his special-needs son take off to the dystopian territories in this novel. It was fine, but nothing memorable happened here.
  • (3/5)
    Census tells the story of a man who, after the death of his wife, signs on as a census worker and heads out into a depopulated north with his son, who has Down Syndrome, listening to people's stories and remembering his wife, who had been a famous clown with an unconventional schooling. My local library has this shelved in science fiction, but that's a categorization that will make no one happy. While the novel is set in a dystopic land that is both sparsely populated and yet has good infrastructure, Jesse Ball isn't interested in explaining or amplifying the world he's created. What he is interested in doing is telling stories in brief vignettes and short segments. Some of the tales come from the people they meet along the way and others focus on his life and his wife's life. I was not the right audience for this book, which came across to me as both underwritten and slightly pretentious. The heart of the book isn't evident on its own, but relies on both an introduction and on photos at the end to explain itself.
  • (3/5)
    This book won the summer TOB and I don't think it should have. I liked understanding how Downs Syndrome child go through life but the Census story I found very lacking. This could be good for a book discussion because people would have a lot of thoughts, feelings and interpretations about the book.
  • (1/5)
    Clearly I am not intellectual enough for this book; where others have seen imagery and meaning, I found a bunch of random paragraphs with no sense of cohesion at all. Cormorants? Someone suggesting a doctor leave one of his instruments in a patient? Bizarre “clown” acts that involve doing nothing but stare at the audience for an hour? I thought this was meant to be about a father-son relationship.

    The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text. In the case of Census, someone took the typewriter away too soon and came up with this garbled mess instead.