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|
An unnamed widower receives news from his doctor that he is suffering from a fatal condition and will shortly die. He quits his medical practice and loads his adored son, a boy with Down Syndrome, into his car and takes off across the country to render the census. He is hoping to spend these fleeting remaining moments traveling and experiencing life with the one he loves most before he is forced to say goodbye forever.
And so starts one of the most cheerful, lighthearted, and downright jolly book ...more
I considered giving up once or twice during the first half of this slim book and am very glad I didn't.
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 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
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
It took me until almost the end of this novel to really be "into" it. And then it broke my heart.
”Mama whispered softly time will ease your pain
Life's about changing nothing ever stays the same
And she said how can I help you to say goodbye
it's okay to hurt and it's okay to cry
Come let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye”
--How Can I Help You Say Goodbye, Patty Loveless, Songwriters: Burton Collins / Karen Taylor-Good
A father and son journey follows the father receiving the news from a doctor that he hasn’t much longer to live. His son, although adult, has Down synd ...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