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All Over Paperback – October 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books; 1st edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979312302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979312304
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Roy Kesey writes with the soul of a ventriloquist."
--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

About the Author

Roy Kesey's other books include his debut novel Pacazo, the award-winning novella Nothing in the World, two historical guidebooks, and an upcoming story collection called Any Deadly ThingAll Over made The L Magazine's recent "Best Books of the Decade" list. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in more than one hundred magazines, including McSweeney's, Subtropics, Ninth Letter and The Kenyon Review. Among other awards, his work has won two Pushcart Prize special mentions and the 2008 Missouri Review Editors' Prize in Fiction, and has appeared in several anthologies including Best American Short Stories, The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology and New Sudden Fiction. He is the recipient of a 2010 prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

More About the Author

Roy Kesey's latest book is a short story collection called Any Deadly Thing, published by Dzanc Books in February 2013. His previous book, the novel Pacazo, was the winner of Word Riot's 2012 Paula Anderson Book Award. His other books include the novella Nothing in the World, two historical guidebooks, and a short story collection called All Over, which made The L Magazine's "Best Books of the Decade" list. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in more than a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology and New Sudden Fiction. He has won two Pushcart Prize Special Mentions, the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction, and a 2010 prose fellowship from the NEA. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Minor on November 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing you'll notice about the stories in All Over is that they move lightning fast, that their trajectory is fueled by funny, that their funny is not separable from the sadness from where the funny comes, that the sadness is not wry or perfunctory, but rather as true as the true things we'd rather not know our lives are limned by.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Kesey has an easy and enlightening way of telling his stories - I hope he writes another collection quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tania Hershman on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Reading Roy Kesey's collection made me happy. Re-reading it soon after made me even happier. This is not because Kesey's stories are hopeful or optimistic. It is because this is a writer so clearly in love with language and rhythm that it is a delight to experience what he does with words - both those we are familiar with and those I suspect he invented.

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.

[...]
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Gillis on October 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
As the publisher of Roy Kesey's remarkable collection, I am proud to share with you some comments from other author/readers about Roy's 'All Over:'

"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.
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Format: Paperback
Uproarious yet unsettling, Roy Kesey's first collection of stories combines a joshing respect for the forms he appropriates -- he has fictions based on everything from the job interview ("Interview") to the international crime thriller ("Follow the Money") -- w/ a phrase-coining shamelessness. Again & again ALL OVER shoots booming through the cliché barrier into the electrifying pleasures of language off the chain. He works in Americana, deadheaded & mall-worthy, & also in high rhetorical tones, almost Elizabethan here, high-Modernist there. Yet for all that the style's worth savoring, there's plenty more to gape at, amid these flash-fictions, stories of ordinary length, & novellas. That longer work includes a Best American winner, the transcendent "Wait," an epic set at an airport gate. "Wait" develops into a showpiece drama, w/ admirable complications, seductive & ingenious. It's a picaresque that goes nowhere, an apocalypse full of hilarity (though a scene about burnt toes can fetch tears), & a transgressive romance, bashing across borders of race and more, in which its climactic marriage is also, in its way, one of convenience. Whew. Then there's "Fontanel," another gem of some heft, working through an old-fashioned Godlike narrator in a new-fangled arrangement that makes its events all the more hair-raising. I have a few misgivings, sure, a case or two in which a bizarre framework & imaginative leaps overwhelm humbler connections. Sill if weary catchalls like "postmodern" or "experimental" have any cachet left, you'll catch its intoxicating whiff in ALL OVER. You can't help thinking, even, of Donald Barthelme, that po-mo touchstone. Kesey, overall, comes as close to Don B.Read more ›
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