[The Divers' Game] Download ê Jesse Ball
The Divers' Game Download ê Jesse Ball
Game reads like a dark fable or perhaps a folktale beamed backwards through time from a distant future It s a dystopian other worldly setting in which our present civilisation has passed out of living memory where zoos are like museums of extinction and citizens arm themselves with canisters of brightly coloured gas to be deployed with lethal force against the immigrant classes at the slightest affront The novel comprises four short set pieces somewhere between short story and novella length each with a different set of characters Linked through their shared invented world as well as in smaller subtler ways these pieces have a fever dream strangeness and a brooding tension Ball has written a striking parable of xenophobia our capacity for violence the human instinct to form in groups and others whether it be on a grand scale or a minute one and what happens when that instinct goes nchecked With economy of style and clarity of purpose The Divers Game is a thoughtful gem The best dystopian novels pick the themes of their time extend them into the future and present the reader with an all too plausible nightmare societyImagine a society with a refugee crisis Then imagine a society that responds to that refugee crisis not by rejecting the refugees but by allowing them to stay as long as they are physically marked so that everyone knows who belongs and who does not Imagine then that these others in society are stigmatised and often subject to violence Imagine that the solution to that is not to stop the violence but to redefine the word violence so that it does not include acts performed against the The Firefighters Christmas Reunion uads as they are known because they live in special lawless and walled in areas calledads and only leave at their own risk The pats as the residents of the land are called carry canisters of gas and gas masks so that they are euipped to deal with any The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey uad who approaches and looks vaguely threatening with no threat of repercussionsWelcome to Jesse Ball s future worldBut Jesse Ball is not one to tell a straightforward story That would be far too simple Ball presentss with three stories and he works by impressionism rather than by telling It is for the reader to puzzle over the The Amish Midwife (Lancaster Courtships, underlying themes and linksTwo girls attend a school where they are taught about their society they are pats and then taken to a zoo by a teacher with a drink problem One girl goes in the other stays outside Both experience an adventure This part of society is heading towards Ogias Day If you know your Christian Old Testament Ogias Day is like the Jubilee without the godly parts cancellation of debts establishment of euality and Then a young girl is selected to be the centre of a communal ceremony in one of theads She is given free rein whatever she commands will happen as she tours the area and the mob mentality rises Where the ceremony of the first part sought euality and was feared by many because of that here the ceremony creates a complete ineuality a young girl has absolute power and is feared by many because of that We learn about the titular Divers Game which explores the connection between two local lakes and as it does so explores what it means to belong and the lengths people will go to in order to feel part of the in crowdFinally a woman writes a letter to her husband It is for the reader to work out who the woman is and I won t spoil the book by saying what the letter is about but the woman is concerned about the conseuences of cruelty for the life of the person being cruelThis then is a book to discuss with others What are the connections Are there connections Are the connections nderneath rather than visible on the surface the title and the game might be a clue Are the connections thematic rather than plot hint there is no overall plot really I write this at the stage where I have only just begin to make those connections and I know I have work ahead of me which I hope will be assisted by other readers as I get chance to discuss the bookI love that Jesse Ball doesn t write about a dystopia where refugees have been rejected and walls have been built to keep them out I love that he turns things on their head and writes about a dystopia where the refugees are allowed to remain and his logical extension is to a society that marks those who don t belong and removes penalties for harm done to themmI love that he then presents s with several different stories about this dystopian world but doesn t feel the need to explain it all This is similar to my favourite kind of artwork that presents the viewer with an abstract impressionistic image or several images but leaves it for the viewer to interpretYou have to be Jesse Ball to be able to imagine the world he creates You probably have to be Jesse Ball to The Amish Nanny (Brides of Amish Country, understand how it all links together but there is sufficient thematic connection made to mean that the reader puts the book down knowing that they will be thinking about it for many days to come Like the subterranean connections within the novel this book lays the groundwork for some subconscious connections in the readers mind the kind of thing that is likely to wake youp in the night thinking about it as pieces join togetherAs an aside having just finished a re read of Deborah Levy s The Man Who Saw Everything how awesome would an evening called Deborah Levy and Jesse Ball In Conversation beMy thanks to Granta Publications for an ARC via NetGalley I loved Census and How to Set a Fire and Why so I had high hopes for this Like Census it s heavy on the metaphors a future society in which refugees are explicitly treated as non human and the insidious but plausible ways that approach poisons our very humanity It s powerful conceptually but I missed the heart of Ball s earlier books the characters felt like pawns he was moving around to make his points than real complex people It s a ick and at times horrifying read it s probably worth your time but it fell a tiny bit short of my high expectations If Jesse Ball s mind was an actual place I d love to travel there I m sure it would be spellbinding and full of weird surprises riveting strange and disturbing No one writes about human cruelty and its conseuences like this guy and no one employs the enlightening power the perspective of a kid can provide far away from any cheap kitsch like the winner of last year s Gordon Burn Prize for Census a tribute to his dead brother To write like this. Ads have no recourse but to continue with their livesThe Divers’ Game is a thinly veiled description of our society an extreme case that demonstrates a truth we must change or our world will collapseWhat is the effect of constant fear on a life or on a culture The Divers’ Game explores the conseuences of violence through two festivals and through the dramatic and excruciating examination of
I ve seen reviews which discuss this as a future dystopia but for me it s a veiled fable about now Ball offers p a world divided and ghettoised where the haves can kill at will where the have nots specifically refugees and criminals released from prison are non persons without legal rig Thought provoking and in your face Jesse Ball is everything What kind of suicide is it to kill in the world what you find in yourself Dive down You just dive down and find the hole then it starts I mean you crawl For one pond to the other The divers game the part where you pull yourself into the hole is the worst Because from there you just have to go on You have to trust that the tunnel s the same as it was last time This book tends to be reviewed as set in a near future dystopia one which imagines a societal approach to mass immigration and to The Slayer (Time Raiders undesirables that seems only a logical extension of current trends I would add though that it is really also a very lightly imagined variation on past practices and lacks the real imagination of say an Exit West even John Lanchester s The Wall to which book it is in every other way superior and whose Booker longlisting looks even bizarre if one assumes that this book was eligible and submittedBall imagines a country which deals with mass immigration by admitting them marking them with a tattoo of a red hat to make their status as legal non persons a legal status change which became enforced as a philosophical one that violence perpetuated on the refugees was not just not illegal but was not even immoral In time the refugees were also marked by amputation of their thumbs and given special areasadrants outside of cities where they had a degree of safety in that citizens too forfeited their rights in what was deemed a pre civilised space Outside these guarded areas the citizens Pats are drilled in the deployment of gas masks and the The Journal Of A Vicars Wife use of poisonous gases to protect themselves against the dehumanised refugeesads Over time the Their Mistletoe Matchmakers uads aresed to house other The Stephanides Pregnancy undesirables in particular criminals and theads themselves have rough justice enforced by bosses who have reached an The Tycoons Reluctant Cinderella understanding with the guardsImmediately one set of rather obvious historical parallels are clear yellow stars non persons Nonperson status was reuired because it removed the moral and social obstacles for committing otherwise objectionable acts of violence crime abuse and murder ghettos KaposThe book has a shaky start the above information is rather clunkily covered by a rhetorical revision lecture on the history of immigration given by Professor Mandred and attended by two citizen girls Lois and Lethe Luckily I was able to follow the principles of the Divers Game I assumed that this was the worst part of the book and trusting that Ball s writing abilities would be the same as in his last book I was able to go on The remainder of the first part follows Lois and particularly Lethe on a trip with the Professor to a zoo to see the last remaining animals in the country We witness the arbitrary way in which they all treat theads they encounter and the Zoo itself is full of symbolism with a divide between dead and living animals with the almost eradication of animals a reminder of their cruel and arbitrary treatment often neither considered illegal or immoral in our society Later Lethe is accosted but The True King of Dahaar (A Dynasty of Sand and Scandal unharmed by a group ofad children near some lakes The society is approaching Ogias Day a Jubilee style day where things are turned More George W. Bushisms upside down and which is thereforensettling to a society with the creed A world of tiers Know your place The Making Of Henri Higgins upon itBy looking down The second part is set in a particularly roughad and is largely based around a raucous festival there the Day of the Infanta where a small child is chosen given the power to issue orders obeyed without estion and reuired to administer arbitrary justice in a series of real as well as symbolic cases before being herself subject to the judgement of the mob In contrast to the nsettling effect of Ogias s Day this day is greeted wildly by Taming a Dark Horse (Men of the West, uads allowing them to enact their frustration at their status and the cruel justice to which they are normally subject Within this part we learn that the son of thead boss has disappeared we later find playing the Divers Game a seeming analogy for the courage reuired to travel between two otherwise separate socieites as well as a link to an incident in the first partBoth the post lecture first part and the second part are written in the wonderful style I recognise from Ball s previous novel Census sparse and yet full of imagery enigmatic and yet full of meaningThe third part is another change of style to a rather preachy style in which Ball s character makes sure we have The Child Who Rescued Christmas / Firefighter with a Frozen Heart understood the moral of the book that in dehumanising others we dehumanise ourselves It is told in a series of short letters from a Pat woman one we already know to her husband feeling threatened by aad she killed him with gas and immediately cannot come to terms with her actions and contemplates suicide OR PERHAPS THEY DO KNOW WHY MY REVULSION AT this place of our lives this society of which we are a part seems not to immediately admit an obvious truth the people who are ground to bits by our horrific thoughtlessness selfishness greed though they may not know in each case why it has happened they do not need to know These things have happened so often that it becomes clear a man like this did not die because of what he did but because of what he was We are the ones who have the privilege of having things happen to The Sabbides Secret Baby us because of what we do Not everyone is so lucky Overall this book while barely than a novella and easily read in a single sitting is aietly powerful and affecting plea to examine what the exclusion of the other is doing to the moral fabric of our societies One final remark I am sure it must be a coincidence but as Ball s last book Census was very similar in subject matter and style to China Mieville s The Census Taker this book in Favourite Daughter underlying subject matter but not in any way style shares a lot with The City and The City Mieville is I think by far the most imaginative and versatile of the two writers but these he makes of his versatility in writing books in varying genre styles a police procedural in The City and The City renders Ball s the better read in this caseMy thanks to Granta for an ARC via NetGalley With simple direct prose The Divers. From the inimitable mind of award winning author Jesse Ball a novel about an Until Again unsettlingly familiar society that has renounced the concept of euality and the devastating conseuences ofnmitigated powerThe old fashioned struggle for fairness has finally been abandoned It was a misguided endeavor The world is divided into two groups pats and The Heirs Proposal uads The pats may kill theads as they like and do The
Jesse Ball ï 8 summary
You have to have deep moral convictions a sprawling imagination and the talent to turn this into intense affecting prose as a reader you need to be willing to put on your hiking boots and bring your compass in order to venture into the overgrown jungle at the heart of a remote narrative island because Ball s books are no beach reads The Divers Game is a novel in three parts In the first one we meet two kids living in a dystopian society that openly accepts and cements ineuality justifying this with arguments that rely on fear ignorance and ideas of superiority The people living in the lawless Beyond The Devils Teeth uarters outside the city most of them refugees are declared to be less than human and every kid is taught how to gas them if one of them crosses their path and disobeys or is perceived as somehow dangerous It has no legal conseuences to immobilize or even painfully kill them with gas the people in the city are carrying gas and gas masks at all times Together with their alcoholic teacher the kids want to visit the zoo and they areltimately separated to experience two different areas where livingdead creatures are cagedIn the second part we meet kids living in Row House one of the lawless Blaze Duo uads outside the city especially a young girl chosen to be the center of an enigmatic ritual that revolves around the limitless execution of personal power and the orgiastic experience of being part of a mob It was the cry of the punished that there should be punishment cruelty hate the world was always so much that the revelers had to flinch away had to retire from feeling and feel not what was before them but instead what they had felt what they might feel This ritual mirrors another one in the first part of the book that is feared by the people in the city because it revolves around the establishment of euality As you see Ball is playing with reversals and trick mirrors also watch out for a character named Lambert Ma who for some is a hero for others a terrorist In addition to that we learn about the eponymous divers game that the kids in thead like to play I won t explain the game in order not to spoil it but I can say that it s about belonging and the dangerous attempt to overcome separation pay attention that it only works in one direction thus being relevant to the whole book The third part is a letter written by the teacher s wife shortly before her death and it contemplates the price an individual soul might pay for being cruel and when instead of fairness there is just order and its conseuences What I love about Jesse Ball is how lyrical his prose is his daring creative ideas and how he does not feel the need to destroy the power of his strong haunting images by over explaining them Rather he trusts in his readers abilities to appreciate the sheer beauty of his art and the iridescent associations he evokes This is a writer tackling very serious topics while proving that smart content and gorgeous writing can easily go together and I hope he will go on winning some prizes for this stunning novel The Divers Game is set in a future or alternative society in which refugees and other social outcasts are legally designated as subhuman They are left to live in cordoned off slums called The Highlanders Redemption (Highland Brides uads and if they enter the main city citizens are permitted to gas them in order to stun them knock them out or kill them The citizens all carry gas masks and colour coded canisters They are trained from an early age to don the mask and attack with speed While refugees are considered non human most actual non human animals in this world are extinctReading The Divers Game is a trulyniue experience The most similar thing I can think of is Nicola Barker s excellent HAPPY At times the novel feels like a network of symbo The Divers Game is the latest novel from Jesse Ball the 4th of his I have read and someone who is fast emerging as one of our most interesting modern day writers It looks like it s about a very violent society that pretends it isn t violent at allIt smells like licorice left in a holeSource A hyena who searched Jesse Ball s house in 2018 and found the draft of this novel He said we can welcome them as long as we can tell them apart As long as we can tell them apart Many of them wherever they were from they had red hats a kind of long knit hat a red hat no one remembers why and so Garing said This will be their symbol We ll tattoo the red hat on their cheeks and then we ll know who is who Then we can welcome themThis novel gives His Christmas Bride us a a dystopian setp but one that draws as Graham s review points out on Nazi era ghettos with immigrants and increasingly also criminals in theory allowed to live in the host country but in practice physically branded and legally non persons such that violence towards them from ordinary citizens is not considered legally and increasingly not even morally wrong Our morality is what we do Do you all nde I have attempted a couple of times to read a Jesse Ball book waiting for the one that was right for me Ball is not exactly my perfect fit he s of a literary impressionist while I tend to stick to realism With THE DIVERS GAME I was able to get engrossed in the world Ball created ickly And even though it isn t my perfect fit as a plot person I really enjoyed the look into the dark world he s createdThere are a lot of ways to mess p a dystopian novel but it turns out Ball s style is well suited to it He avoids a lot of the problems and pitfalls of creating a society that never seems real There are images from this story that will not leave my brain any time soon Ball jumps around in this book moving to different parts of the world leaving stories nfinished giving you of a feeling than a strict structure and it works well The basic elements of this world are introduced in some detail though other pieces are mysterious even to the people living in it We spend much of the book following young characters who do not fully comprehend the world they live in who can be callous about its horrors because it is all they have known The naivete and openness of children and young people makes THE DIVERS GAME all the gut punching when it delivers its hits which are plentifulWhile plot people like me may find this book How Not to be Starstruck unsatisfying because it doesn t give you those typical beats I still recommend it for its dark vision It s good to break out of your comfort zone sometimes and this is a worthwhile venture out into thenusual. Woman’s final momentsBrilliantly constructed and achingly tender The Divers’ Game shatters the notion of common decency as the binding agent between individuals forcing s to consider whether compassion is intrinsic to the human experience With his signature empathy and ingenuity Jesse Ball’s latest work solidifies his reputation as one of contemporary fiction’s most mesmerizing talents.
Jesse Ball 1978 Born in New York The author of fourteen books most recently the novel How To Set a Fire and Why His prizewinning works of absurdity have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into than a dozen languages The recipient of the Paris Review's Plimpton Prize as well as fellowships from the NEA the Heinz foundation and others he is on the fa