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All Over Paperback – October 1, 2007
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--David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
"(A)mong the best post-postmodern fiction that I've read in years."
--Justin Taylor, The Believer
"Kesey is on to something great here--the kind of fiction that bends our minds like paper clips."
--David Abrams, January Magazine
"A near-direct descendant of Samuel Beckett."
--Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
"Kesey is a shapeshifter, a voice-imitator, a puppet master... He is Barthelmean in his ability to make something dense or highbrow come off as funny or gamesmanlike, which is high praise."
--Blake Butler, Rain Taxi
A restlessly inventive collection, as the best story collections so often are - comic and tender, ironic and earnest, deadpan and passionate. A distinctive new voice, from a distinctive new press. --Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl
For those keen to know the next generation of the American short story, consider All Over, which features the loopy paranoia of Don DeLillo, the po-mo-mo whimsy of Donald Barthelme, the spooky learnedness of Thomas Pynchon, the high-minded literary sleight-of-hand of Robert Coover and John Barth, and the secret geek speak of George Saunders. Add a touch of the Brothers Grimm, Jules Verne, and the Looney Tunes, and you've got a book of a million moving parts, all of which work in breath-taking harmony to keep illusion aloft. --Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once
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Top Customer Reviews
The second thing you'll notice is that you're done reading, and you're done laughing, but the stories aren't done with you. They'll be eating at you for awhile, because of that sad thing, and because of that true thing.
The third thing you'll notice is that you've picked up the book again, and you've forgotten, while those stories were eating at you, that amidst all that sad and all that true, those stories were really pretty funny, and you'll read the funny with pleasure, forgetting what's going to hit you next, which is the whiplash of the sad and the true.
You'll get knocked around this way a few times, and you'll read the book again, even after you think you're done with it.
Who else does this to you? Donald Barthelme, sure, and also Brock Clarke and George Saunders and Kurt Vonnegut. Heady company, yes, but Kesey earns it out, story by story. I'm glad I bought this book, and if you're on my Christmas list, I might buy you a copy, too, but why wait, and deprive yourself of these complicated pleasures? This is a book to buy now, and to read, and to savor.
"These stories by Roy Kesey, in the way they brilliantly blend humor and pathos, remind me of coins tossed in the air, turning over and over, one side cast in light, the other in darkness. His writing is original, fearless, strikingly funny, and clean - so clean - his words sharp enough to cut the eye."
- Benjamin Percy, author of The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh
"All Over is the strangest, best collection of stories you will read this year. With a seamless blend of lyricism and minimalism, Roy Kesey travels All Over the terrain of he psyche, the human condition, the relationships we have and fail to have. These stories team with insights, little horrors, moments of sweet verity, and surreal surprise. The characters are persuasive, and the storytelling is both hallucinatory and familiar. This is a new voice you must hear."
-Laura Kasischke, author of Be Mine, and five other titles
"Roy Kesey tempers his prodigious imagination with fine syntactic control, so that his stories - like Donald Barthelme's - feel simultaneously free-wheeling and precise. All Over is an exhilarating collection - funny, harrowing, smart, odd, and inventive."
-Chris Bachelder, author of U.S! and Bear vs. Shark
"Reading Roy Kesey is like being allowed to peep momentarily through a mysterious hole in the wall into a hidden universe that is very much like ours only slightly brighter, slightly sadder, certainly no less odd. Violinists play in the rain to keep swallows in flight. Strange, leaking packages tied up with string wait to be opened. In other words, Roy Kesey is a delight to read.Read more ›
The 19 stories range in length from one to ten pages. Several were previously published in literary magazines such as McSweeney's and Opium, publications with a reputation for clever, sharp, irreverent writing. While Kesey's work does fit this description, this is not cleverness for the sake of it. In almost all the stories, even those that on the surface appear utterly absurd, he is unearthing the complexities of our world, the messes we make of it, and the small moments of joy.