The Curfew by Jesse Ball
(Vintage Contemporaries Original)

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Jesse Ball

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Jesse Ball (1978-) is an American poet and novelist. He is the author of Samedi the Deafness, released last year by Random House and shortlisted for the 2007 Believer Book Award. His first volume, March Book, appeared in 2004, followed by Vera & Linus (2006), and Parables and Lies (2008). His drawings were published in 2006 in Iceland in the volume Og svo kom nottin. He won the Plimpton Prize in 2008 for his novella, The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp & Carr. His verse appeared in The Best American Poetry 2006. He is an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
 
Published June 14, 2011 by Vintage. 210 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Curfew

Kirkus Reviews

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In a risky move, William leaves Molly with elderly neighbors and steals away to a subversive nighttime gathering, where he receives a precious contraband violin as well as a dossier on Louisa.

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

BC Books

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After all, books about Orwellian societies usually are tragic, with the end simply a picture of the devastating demise of an idealist hero.

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

BC Books

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People have set speeds of walking, people have set codes, people have set routes to go home.

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

The Wall Street Journal

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There is a glancing moment in Jesse Ball's "The Curfew" (Vintage, 194 pages, $15) that illustrates the novel's beguiling ambiguity.

Jun 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

Kirkus Reviews

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Jesse Ball doesn’t simply write novels—he creates worlds.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

AV Club

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Between the blanks Molly can’t fill in and those William doesn’t want to, Ball artfully underdescribes enough to lock the characters into a maze, where they’re trapped by the danger that any public action will be considered offense enough to have them removed.

Jul 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

About.com

As if Jesse Ball too is following the rules of C., he takes the action of The Curfew indoors after dark, and for the remaining half of the novel follows William's daughter Molly as she writes a play to be performed by her babysitter's puppet theatre.

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PopMatters

Jesse Ball’s third and latest novel, The Curfew, is an exercise in the perplexing.

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

Chicago Tribune

It began with Gertrude Stein — true — and, as the Irish story writer Frank O'Connor once put it, looks funny on the page — often true — and then basically went underground —false.

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Bookmarks Magazine

But when an old friend seeks William out, claiming to know what happened to his wife, William must risk everything.

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

The New Yorker

Subscribers can read the full version of this story by logging into our digital archive.

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

Time Out New York

Puppets, oranges and old people may not seem to be essential ingredients of a disquieting future, but extrapolating from the ordinary and interpreting the absent are the keys to Jesse Ball's The Curfew.

Jun 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

Newcity Lit

An example: In the Chicago author’s second book, “The Way Through Doors,” a young man sees a stranger get hit by a cab and brings the ID-less, memory-washed woman to the hospital.

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

The Nervous Breakdown

If you have read Jesse Ball before and loved his layering and his depth, those elements are in The Curfew in all of their radiant glory: William is forced to venture out past curfew, lured by the promise of information about his long-missing wife, leaving Molly with his neighbors, a former puppet...

Jul 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

http://www.lareviewofbooks.org

The overthrow of the previous regime is handled so briefly as to essentially be a parenthetical — at some point in William's past the country wasn't totalitarian, then things changed very quickly — and now William lives a dual life as a writer of epitaphs (or "epitaphorist," in Ball's coinage) fo...

Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Curfew (Vintage Contempor...

Reader Rating for The Curfew
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