Backchat: Census

Jesse Ball, Census

Jesse Ball, Census.
Granta Books. £14.99.
Buy direct from the publisher.

Splice publishes new content on Mondays and Wednesdays, but throughout the week we bulk it out with bonus material on Facebook and Twitter. On Fridays, “Backchat” looks at the week that was and gathers up all the bonus material in one place.

This week on Splice, Daniel Davis Wood took a close look at Jesse Ball’s new novel, Census, published by Granta Books, and then we put together a roundup of Ball’s comments on the novel drawn from a range of interviews he has given.

If you’d like to get a sense of the novel for yourself, you can find a clip of Ball reading aloud from it while it was a work-in-progress and you can also read the entire introduction and most of the first three chapters courtesy of Ball’s American publisher. There are a handful of long, intelligent reviews of Census available online, too. Very much worth reading are Ramsey Mathews’ positive take on the novel at the Los Angeles Review of Books and Jeffrey Zuckerman’s less enthusiastic response at Full Stop.

And there’s plenty more material by Jesse Ball to be found. His website is a good place to start, and don’t miss the two short “cryptic fictions” he published in BOMB a few years ago. Also interesting — and part of a fascinating subgenre mastered by David Foster Wallace (one, two) and Ben Marcus (one, two) — are Ball’s thoughts on producing syllabi for creative writing classes, extracted from his book on pedagogical practice, Notes on My Dunce Cap.

That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll be launching Dana Diehl’s Our Dreams Might Align with a new, exclusive story by Dana appearing here on Monday. Follow Splice on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything as it unfolds…