The Village on Horseback

Prose and Verse, 2003-2008
“Strange, haunting, and wise.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
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From the author of A Cure for Suicide and Census comes a philosophical recasting of myth and legend, folklore and popular culture: a fabulist’s compendium of poetry and prose.

Jesse Ball—long-listed for the National Book Award, a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and named one of Granta’s best young American novelists—is one of the most interesting, lyrical, fanciful, and “disturbingly original” (Chicago Tribune) writers working today. And The Village on Horseback is one of his most dazzling and varied works. These experimental pieces—including the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize–winning novella “The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp & Carr”—ask the reader not to imagine the world for what it is, but for what it could be: a blank tableau on which a spirited imagination can conjure tales out of, seemingly, nothing.

The Village on Horseback is an unmissable treat, a book of voyages to be taken on journeys far and wide.

Publish Date
4.56 × 6.5 × 0.94 in
11.2 oz

Praise and Prizes

  • The Village on Horseback is strikingly original, often surprising, and yet another example of why I consider Jesse Ball one of America’s finest young writers. I have praised Ball’s writing on many occasions, and cannot recommend this collection enough.”

    Largehearted Boy
  • “Superb … The Village on Horseback is strange, haunting, and wise.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “Jesse Ball is an extraordinarily unfettered tale-spinner, here creating a pastiche of enchanting, tragic, and piquant figments and vignettes presenting puzzling occurrences, haunting patterns, surpassing strangeness, and essential human feelings and foibles.”

  • “Jesse Ball’s talents, as both a storyteller and a writer of prose, tend to burst the borders of his structures. His language is chastely lyrical, with a discreet musicality… . He is often appealingly funny, in an absurdist manner.”

    James Wood
    New Yorker
  • “Few contemporary American writers can match Jesse Ball’s commitment to a singular style. His isolated towns and villages, we now can see, belong to a rich, vast landscape—a nation-state, a continent, a world.”

    The Atlantic
  • “Jesse Ball writes dystopia and fabulism with a hushed, poetic grace.”

    AV Club
  • “[Jesse Ball is] a writer of an elegantly poetic bent… . Explore with Ball, fall into his quirky rhythms, and you’ll discover a burning plea for empathy. It will break your heart.”

    Entertainment Weekly