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This Census-Taker
by China Mieville


Overview - For readers of George Saunders, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Karen Russell, This Census-Taker is a stunning, uncanny, and profoundly moving novella from multiple-award-winning and bestselling author China Mieville.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event.
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More About This Census-Taker by China Mieville
 
 
 
Overview
For readers of George Saunders, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Karen Russell, This Census-Taker is a stunning, uncanny, and profoundly moving novella from multiple-award-winning and bestselling author China Mieville.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries and fails to flee. Left alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape.
When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over.
But by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? What is the purpose behind his questions? Is he friend? Enemy? Or something else altogether?
Filled with beauty, terror, and strangeness, This Census-Taker is a poignant and riveting exploration of memory and identity.
Praise for This Census-Taker
China Mieville is a magician . . . who can both blow your mind with ideas as big as the universe and break your heart with language so precise and polished, it s like he s writing with diamonds. NPR
The book haunts the reader; what actually happened seems always just out of reach, glimpsed in shadow as it rounds a corner ahead of our vision. Los Angeles Review of Books
Mieville s] been compared to Karen Russell and George Saunders, and rightfully so. The Huffington Post
Marvellous. The Guardian
Lingers in the mind like an unsettling dream. Financial Times
A thought-provoking fairy tale for adults . . . This Census-Taker] resembles the narrative style, quirkiness, and plotting found in the works of Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, or Steven Millhauser. Booklist
Brief and dreamlike . . . a deceptively simple story whose plot could be taken as a symbolic representation of an aspect of humanity as big as an entire society and as small as a single soul. Kirkus Reviews"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101967324
  • ISBN-10: 1101967323
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Publish Date: January 2016
  • Page Count: 210


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Fantasy - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-12-07
  • Reviewer: Staff

New Weird exemplar Miéville (Three Moments of an Explosion) evokes fantasy from the emotional currents of daily life, eradicating differences between self and other and between reality and dream. An anonymous narrator, whos currently a prisoner but spoken of as an honored guest, relates a tragic childhood in a nameless, war-ravaged society. His isolated life is shattered when his father, a so-called keymaker whose keys open clients hidden desires, murders his mother. His claims that his father buried his mother in a pit dont prevent the adult authorities from returning him to his fathers care. The only glimmer of joy in his life is his chance friendship with two orphans, motherly Samma and tough Drobe. The narrative of guilt and justice is accelerated by the appearance of the Census-Taker, an official who counts people and things and whose relentless probing leads the narrator to become the strangers assistant, searching for his own personality by recording the lives of others. Miévilles Kafkaesque narrator is a man without identity who delves for meaning in other peoples stories, statistics, and untrustworthy memories. Fans of Miévilles work will recognize and relish his sharp, probing storytelling. Sparse language and a minimalist approach make this intellectual vivisection best suited to readers who are willing to work for meaning. Agent: Mic Cheetham, Mic Cheetham Associates. (Jan.)

 
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