Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
Autoportrait by Jesse Ball
Add Autoportrait to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
Autoportrait by Jesse Ball
Hardcover $20.00
Aug 16, 2022 | ISBN 9781646221387

Also available from:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Aug 16, 2022 | ISBN 9781646221387

    Also available from:

  • Aug 16, 2022 | ISBN 9781646221394

    Also available from:

Product Details


“Jesse Ball is a writer of formal mysteriousness and neon moral clarity . . . His language is spare, strange, and evocative . . . His themes are human savagery, often state-sanctioned, and human kindness, a thin thread of resistance . . . The final section [of The Divers’ Game] is breathtaking.” —The New Yorker
“Jesse Ball (“Census”) levels a steely gaze at the very concept of humanity in this three-part novel that introduces the lower-class “quads” and the rich “pats,” who treat those below them with impunity. When a group of pats conceals the grisly fate of a young quad girl behind an elaborate festival, you may start to wonder just how different this dystopian world is from our own.” —The Washington Post

“Jesse Ball’s Autoportrait, you might say, is all voice . . . Evocative and bright.” —Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

“The pleasure, here, is in errancy and velocity . . . Ball’s text leans into cold wonder, flirting with a Francis Ponge-like poetry of the mundane and highlighting his predilection for the absurd, the diffuse, the simply odd . . . Much of the strange delight of reading this book is found in teasing out the precise nature of Ball’s writerly persona, variously warm and cold, aloof and sincere.” —Bailey Trela, Frieze

“Deeply alive.” —Carolyn Quimby, The Millions, A Most Anticipated Book of the Month

“Jesse Ball’s memoir, inspired by the memoir Édouard Levé wrote shortly before his death, has been called ‘frank and intimate’ but I imagine its greatest strength is the clear and somewhat unsettling way in which Ball—as he does in his many novels—is able to pinpoint the best and worst of everyday life, of the basic situation of simply being alive, and make it strange and slightly absurd.” —Emily Firetog, A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year

“Ball turns the autobiography on its head . . . Ball makes compelling work of it, slabbing the matter of his life together like a Dadaist sculptor . . . An unconventional memoir that speaks to the power of elusiveness.” —Library Journal

“Ball invites readers into a meditative engagement with the text and suggests that perhaps the best way to understand a person is to sift through their mental clutter. Koan-like moments hum throughout . . . A hypnotic personal reflection penned with clockwork discipline.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Slender and innovative . . . A rich self-portrait that evokes wonder at odd passions (cooking with strangely named spices, drawings of dead babies) and delightfully idiosyncratic opinions.” —Publishers Weekly

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Jesse Ball
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top