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The Curfew

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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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 25, 2011 – "GOOD CITIZENS SPEND THEIR NIGHTS ABED." So goes the edict of Ball's unsettling new novel (after The Way Through Doors). Set in the city of C, a dystopic near-future Chicago, William Drysdale and his mute eight-year-old daughter, Molly, attempt to keep their heads down in a dangerous city of murders, suspicious neighbors, and a network of secret police. The shadowy government imposes a mercurial nightly curfew; musical performances have been outlawed, weekends abolished. Drysdale, a former virtuoso violinist, now works as an epitaphorist, helping others write their epitaphs. Ball divides his slim novel into two parts, the first dealing with William's search for his disappeared wife and a growing counterrevolutionary movement. The second details a phantasmagorical puppet show conducted by Molly that explores her parents' past and future. Written in clipped and brutal prose that shares the page with a lot of white space, the compelling narrative is buoyed by nuanced characters, but ultimiately lacks punch. Still, Ball's ideas and heart make this a very compelling read.

Customer Reviews

100 Words or Less

In many ways, I felt this novel was more interested in style than substance … actually, much like poetry in a way. The author seemed to give the basic outline of a plot/characters, and dared the reader to keep going. Oh, I’m all for novels that challenge me, plunge me into a world that forces me to keep up. But this is not the case here. The truncated opening style seemed so bare bones; a bit of a cheat, I think. Eventually, I couldn’t make it past pg. 30.

The Curfew
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 14, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings