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This title in other editions

Silence Once Begun (Vintage Contemporaries)

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Silence Once Begun (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

 

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Powell's is proud to sponsor the 11th annual Morning News Tournament of Books, in which 16 of last year's best fiction titles duke it out to be named the Rooster of 2015. The action begins in March, so there's still time to choose your favorites before they go to battle. And, for a limited time, we're offering all 16 contenders at 30% off. Let the reading begin!

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 one Oda Sotatsu, a thread salesman.

Sotatsu is arrested, jailed, and interrogated, but he refuses to speak. Even as his family comes to visit, even as his execution looms, and even as a young woman named Jito Joo enters his cell, he maintains his vow of silence. And as a journalist’s obsession uncovers more to the story, Jesse Ball spins a wildly inventive and emotionally powerful take of unjust conviction and lost love.

Review:

"Absorbing, finely wrought...a piercing tragedy...that combines subtlety and simplicity in such a way that it causes a reader to go carefully, not wanting to miss a word." Helen Oyeyemi, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Jesse Ball's strange, brief, beguiling fourth novel, Silence Once Begun, flirts with the hermetic....Ball enjoys borrowing some of the conventions of crime writing but in order to use them rather than to be used by them....His language is chastely lyrical, with a discreet musicality....He is often appealingly funny, in an absurdist manner reminiscent of the English avant-gardist B. S. Johnson....One of the triumphs of Silence Once Begun is the way that Ball enriches his metafictional restlessness with [a] humane curiosity....The language seems aware of the charged space around it, as if one were praying aloud in a darkened, empty church. His characters speak at once lucidly and uncannily; words have become strangely heavy." James Wood, The New Yorker

Review:

“Remarkable...a clear nod to The Trial...not unlike the images that string together the similarly enigmatic quagmires of W. G. Sebald...a perfection of [Ball's] style...realism distilled to its barest essentials.” Michael H. Miller, The NY Observer

Review:

"A seductive 'Rashomon'-like chorus of competing explanations for Sotatsu's actions, each cunningly building upon, or canceling out, the last....Beginning as a work of seeming reportage, Silence Once Begun transforms into a graceful and multifaceted fable on the nature of truth and identity." Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal 

Review:

“‘Jesse Ball’ investigates a series of disappearances, a wrongful conviction and a love story in modern-day Osaka, Japan. [He] makes readers’ heads spin yet again with a darker but more tempered version of his strange, almost whimsical multimedia creations....There’s no denying the fascination his aberrant storytelling inspires.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“An increasingly mysterious and conflicted portrait of Oda and his alleged crime. This methodical presentation makes for coolly suspenseful reading, but it’s soon clear there is more underlying Ball’s investigation than meets the eye....Intriguing and offers a riveting portrait of the Japanese criminal justice system.” Publishers Weekly

Review:

“Ball’s spare, meditative, Rashomon-like novel, a work of exceptional control and exquisite nuance, consists of contradictory transcripts, poetic letters, a striking fable, and melancholy musings. Enigmatic black-and-white photographs add to the subtly cinematic mode. With echoes of Franz Kafka, Paul Auster, and Kobo Abe, Ball creates an elegantly chilling and provocatively metaphysical tale.” Booklist

Review:

“Jesse Ball's Silence Once Begun resists the standard narrative tropes of contemporary novels....As in Kafka's The Trial, the justice of Silence Once Begun is both tragic and absurd....Ball has built in a few genuinely surprising twists that exist solely because of how the story is structured. That's an accomplishment; Silence Once Begun is a fascinating project in which almost everything is stripped away but the contradictory stories people tell.” Carolyn Kellogg, The LA Times

Review:

"Daring...Silence Once Begun is a wondrous and provocatively strange reading experience that places the actual Jesse Ball among our most compelling and daring writers today." Nathan Deuel, The LA Review of Books

Review:

"A great page-turner...as hypnotic as any metronome....Think Camus's The Stranger, but with bonus material, like interviews from some of Meursault's closest confidants. Or think Kafka—only a version where the agents of power will pull up a chair and tell you exactly what was at stake in the trial...[a] daring and beautiful little book." Hannah Gold, The Chicago Reader

About the Author

Jesse Ball is the author of three previous novels, including Samedi the Deafness, and several books of verse, bestiaries, and sketchbooks. His awards include the 2008 Paris Review Plimpton Prize; his verse has been included in the Best American Poetry series. He gives classes on lucid dreaming and lying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345805522
Author:
Ball, Jesse
Publisher:
Vintage
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20141131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.77 in 0.575 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2015
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Crime

Silence Once Begun (Vintage Contemporaries) Sale Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.17 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Vintage - English 9780345805522 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Absorbing, finely wrought...a piercing tragedy...that combines subtlety and simplicity in such a way that it causes a reader to go carefully, not wanting to miss a word."
"Review" by , "Jesse Ball's strange, brief, beguiling fourth novel, Silence Once Begun, flirts with the hermetic....Ball enjoys borrowing some of the conventions of crime writing but in order to use them rather than to be used by them....His language is chastely lyrical, with a discreet musicality....He is often appealingly funny, in an absurdist manner reminiscent of the English avant-gardist B. S. Johnson....One of the triumphs of Silence Once Begun is the way that Ball enriches his metafictional restlessness with [a] humane curiosity....The language seems aware of the charged space around it, as if one were praying aloud in a darkened, empty church. His characters speak at once lucidly and uncannily; words have become strangely heavy."
"Review" by , “Remarkable...a clear nod to The Trial...not unlike the images that string together the similarly enigmatic quagmires of W. G. Sebald...a perfection of [Ball's] style...realism distilled to its barest essentials.”
"Review" by , "A seductive 'Rashomon'-like chorus of competing explanations for Sotatsu's actions, each cunningly building upon, or canceling out, the last....Beginning as a work of seeming reportage, Silence Once Begun transforms into a graceful and multifaceted fable on the nature of truth and identity."
"Review" by , “‘Jesse Ball’ investigates a series of disappearances, a wrongful conviction and a love story in modern-day Osaka, Japan. [He] makes readers’ heads spin yet again with a darker but more tempered version of his strange, almost whimsical multimedia creations....There’s no denying the fascination his aberrant storytelling inspires.”
"Review" by , “An increasingly mysterious and conflicted portrait of Oda and his alleged crime. This methodical presentation makes for coolly suspenseful reading, but it’s soon clear there is more underlying Ball’s investigation than meets the eye....Intriguing and offers a riveting portrait of the Japanese criminal justice system.”
"Review" by , “Ball’s spare, meditative, Rashomon-like novel, a work of exceptional control and exquisite nuance, consists of contradictory transcripts, poetic letters, a striking fable, and melancholy musings. Enigmatic black-and-white photographs add to the subtly cinematic mode. With echoes of Franz Kafka, Paul Auster, and Kobo Abe, Ball creates an elegantly chilling and provocatively metaphysical tale.”
"Review" by , “Jesse Ball's Silence Once Begun resists the standard narrative tropes of contemporary novels....As in Kafka's The Trial, the justice of Silence Once Begun is both tragic and absurd....Ball has built in a few genuinely surprising twists that exist solely because of how the story is structured. That's an accomplishment; Silence Once Begun is a fascinating project in which almost everything is stripped away but the contradictory stories people tell.”
"Review" by , "Daring...Silence Once Begun is a wondrous and provocatively strange reading experience that places the actual Jesse Ball among our most compelling and daring writers today."
"Review" by , "A great page-turner...as hypnotic as any metronome....Think Camus's The Stranger, but with bonus material, like interviews from some of Meursault's closest confidants. Or think Kafka—only a version where the agents of power will pull up a chair and tell you exactly what was at stake in the trial...[a] daring and beautiful little book."
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