By Jesse Ball
Vintage Books, $15.00, 194 pages
When you open The Curfew, the first thing you’ll notice is the stylistic invention of the prose. Instead of being a flow of paragraphs, it’s told through chunks of text divided into short chapters, sometimes only a page long. When a portion of the story is particularly portentous, the font and size of the words change. On one level then, the book functions as a visual art. ||On another level, the book is a story of a father and a child trying to survive together in a nightmarish future. It’s sure to remind some of The Road. Rather than being a place of anarchy, the scenario is instead an overly ordered society where people are detained and even killed with little provocation, which is what happens to the protagonist’s wife. The story deals with both his quest to find out why and how his daughter yearns for answers, which come in the form of a long puppet show.
The spare and minimalist approach is sure to appeal to fans of Paul Auster and Don DeLillo, but others may find it too dry and possibly be confused by the meta-fictional touches.
Reviewed by Corey Pung