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Extended Audio Sample This Census-Taker, by China Miéville Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: China Miéville Narrator: Matthew Frow Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 Miéville.

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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • China Miéville 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
  • “The success of Miéville’s novella lies in its chillingly stark, strange atmosphere, which is alive with eerie menace and a haunting beauty that inevitably pulls readers in, even as the shifts in time and perspective obscure the full truth of the narrative. The result is something like the memory of a nightmare—at once realistic and fantastically surreal—that is bizarre, compelling and unnerving all at once…Complex and… multilayered, offering readers a kind of allegory that is sure to linger long after the final page has turned.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • “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

  • “A thought-provoking fairy tale for adults.”

    Booklist

  • “Miéville’s Kafkaesque narrator is a man without identity who delves for meaning in other people’s stories, statistics, and untrustworthy memories. Fans of Miéville’s work will recognize and relish his sharp, probing storytelling.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Matthew Frow lends his youthful voice to this unsettling and atmospheric story of a runaway child who believes one parent has killed the other…Frow’s sensitive narration helps the listener navigate this unusual narrative device more deftly…[and] captures the darker side of childhood in this novella.”

    AudioFile

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