This Census-Taker

China Miéville (Picador)

In a remote house on a hilltop, a boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries – and fails – to flee. Alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape.

When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over.

But is this man a friend? Enemy? Or something else altogether?