Franz Kafka meets Yorgos Lanthimos in this provocative new novel from one of America’s most brilliant and distinctive writers.

by Jesse Ball
Catapult, September 2024
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)

In a speculative future, Abel, a menial worker, is called to serve in a secretive and fabled jury system. At the heart of this system is the repeat room, where a single juror, selected from hundreds of candidates, is able to inhabit the defendant’s lived experience, to see as if through their eyes.

The case to which Abel is assigned is revealed in the novel’s shocking second act. We receive a record of a boy’s broken and constrained life, a tale that reveals an illicit and passionate psycho-sexual relationship, its end as tragic as the circumstances of its conception.

Artful in its suspense, and sharp in its evocation of a byzantine and cruel bureaucracy, THE REPEAT ROOM is an exciting and pointed critique of the nature of knowledge and judgment, and a vivid framing of Ball’s absurd and nihilistic philosophy of love.

Jesse Ball is the author of fifteen books, most recently the novel Autoportrait. His works have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, won the 2008 Paris Review Plimpton Prize, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and has been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

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