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***LONG-LISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD***From the author of Silence Once Begun, a beguiling new novel about a man starting over at the most basic level, and the strange woman who insinuates herself into his life and memory.A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an "examiner," the man, her "claimant." The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress: he is showing improvement yet his dreams are troubling. One day the examiner brings the claimant to a party, where he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from one of our most audacious and original young writers.
William and Molly lead a life of small pleasures, riddles at the kitchen table, and games of string and orange peels. All around them a city rages with war. When the uprising began, William's wife was taken, leaving him alone with their young daughter. They keep their heads down and try to remain unnoticed as police patrol the streets, enforcing a curfew and arresting citizens. But when an old friend seeks William out, claiming to know what happened to his wife, William must risk everything. He ventures out after dark, and young Molly is left to play, reconstructing his dangerous voyage, his past, and their future. An astounding portrait of fierce love within a world of random violence, The Curfew is a mesmerizing feat of literary imagination.From the Trade Paperback edition.
How to Set a Fire and Why, Jesse Ball's singular, blistering new novel, tells the story of a teenage girl who has lost everything--and will burn anything. Lucia's father is dead, her mother is in a mental hospital, and she's living in a garage-turned-bedroom with her aunt. And now she's been kicked out of school--again. Making her way through the world with only a book, a zippo lighter, a pocketful of stolen licorice, a biting wit, and the striking intelligence that she tries to hide, Lucia spends her days riding the bus to visit her mother and following the only rule that makes any sense to her: Don't do things you aren't proud of. But when she discovers that her new school has a secret Arson Club, she's willing to do anything to be a part of it, and her life is suddenly lit up. As Lucia's fascination with the Arson Club grows, her story becomes one of misguided friendship and, ultimately, destruction.From the Hardcover edition.
A Vintage Short Loring is a widow and chess master who makes her living giving chess lessons; her newest student, who might be a prodigy, bears a striking resemblance to her dead spouse. Has her chess champion husband found a final move beyond the grave? A chess fable from the wildly inventive, immensely talented author of A Cure for Suicide and Silence Once Begun, "The Lesson" is a surprising, poignant, macabre tale of games, children, and the unknowability of the beyond. Channeling the chess masterpieces of Nabokov and Stefan Zweig, Jesse Ball's newest is a fabulous and entertaining novella that astonishes from first move to last. An eBook short.
One morning in the park James Sim discovers a man, crumpled on the ground, stabbed in the chest. In the man's last breath, he whispers his confession:Samedi. What follows is a spellbinding game of cat and mouse as James is abducted, brought to an asylum, and seduced by a woman in yellow. Who is lying? What is Samedi? And what will happen on the seventh day?
From the celebrated author of The Curfew ("A spare masterwork of dystopian fiction" --The New York Times Book Review), Jesse Ball's Silence Once Begun is an astonishing novel of unjust conviction, lost love, and a journalist's obsession. Over the course of several months, eight people vanish from their homes in the same Japanese town, a single playing card found on each door. Known as the "Narito Disappearances," the crime has authorities baffled--until a confession appears on the police's doorstep, signed by Oda Sotatsu, a thread salesman. Sotatsu is arrested, jailed, and interrogated--but he refuses to speak. Even as his parents, brother, and sister come to visit him, even as his execution looms, and even as a young woman named Jito Joo enters his cell, he maintains his vow of silence. Our narrator, a journalist named Jesse Ball, is grappling with mysteries of his own when he becomes fascinated by the case. Why did Sotatsu confess? Why won't he speak? Who is Jito Joo? As Ball interviews Sotatsu's family, friends, and jailers, he uncovers a complex story of heartbreak, deceit, honor, and chance. Wildly inventive and emotionally powerful, Silence Once Begun is a devastating portrayal of a justice system compromised, and evidence that Jesse Ball is a voraciously gifted novelist working at the height of his powers.
This second volume of poetry by experimental writer Jesse Ball is a philosophical recasting of myth and legend. Employing an eerie narrative simplicity, these always unpredictable poems are cautionary tales of the oppressiveness of monolithic culture on the development of artistic, philosophical, and political leadership. Alternating from the personal to the public, Ball attains a wide enough vantage to observe the cowardliness of historians in their refusal to ascribe causality. Unearthing parables from the compost heap of oral tradition, folklore, literature, and popular culture, this book projects shadows of figures we think we recognize: Helen Keller, Pompeii, Ellis Island, Houdini, Lazarus, the Pied Piper, Punch and Judy, Hawthorne, Shirley Jackson, and more.Comprised of three separate "volumes," The Village on Horseback creates an entirely original world of interrelated characters, with a mix of references, allusions, evocations-the result being a sort of Brueghel-esque feel-and yet there's also a self-conscious acknowledgment of modernity as well as a questioning of the "authority" of the author in determining meaning. At times evoking Gorey, Chaucer, and the tale of Robin Hood, these fables, ghost stories, and riddles of human nature dissect the individual's interaction with "culture," particularly commenting on the ascribing of meaning by communal groups resulting in "truth-making," and the limitations of our leaders (artists, philosophers, politicians) in their ability to break us out of communal indoctrination.
Offering up moments of pure insight and unexpected humor, "The Way Through Doors" is a haunting novel of love and identity, from the acclaimed author of "Samedi the Deafness. "
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