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We Were Flying to Chicago Paperback – May 13, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an “old” talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him. These 10 stories reveal Clouther’s perfectly attuned ear for the clichés, rhythms, and timid vocabulary of ordinary folk; on the other hand, he has great empathy for what these people may not be able to articulate but know in their hearts. In plotting out a story, he is not only creative in how best to generate the condensed dramatic tension necessary in a short story but also intuitive in knowing when and how much to reveal about a person or happening while still ensuring that this power-in-concentration is maintained. “Charleston for Breakfast,” about a young man who blows off his job to take a ride with his girlfriend, is a heartfelt, intelligent presentation of Clouther’s aptitude for knowing just how far to go into a story so that reader interest is sustained while still adhering to limited elaboration. We eagerly await his next collection. --Brad Hooper

Review

"Kevin Clouther’s collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing."—BookRiot, Included in "The Great 2014 Short Fiction Round-Up" by David Abrams

“Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an 'old' talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him.”—Booklist, starred

"Sharply observed."—Toronto Star

"Kevin Clouther's collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing. . .I can confidently report that this is writing that's unmistakably alive and feral.. . .Dare I say that I hear Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway echoing in my head?"—David Abrams, The Quivering Pen

"The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure-handed grasp of craft. The first and last stories are the best. In the former, the title story, deft and subtle shifts of perspective among a group of young women lead to a well-earned concluding insight. Better still is the emotionally complex final selection, “Puritan Hotel, Barnstable,” about two brothers, Michael and Connor, dealing with Connor’s cancer treatment."—Publishers Weekly

"Kevin Clouther's collection of wry, funny, big-hearted stories is utterly satisfying and unexpected, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had."—Rebecca Johns

“Kevin Clouther’s remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author’s expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther’s beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book—you’ll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror. “—Bret Anthony Johnston

“[These] stories develop an intimate voice and the reader can feel characters’ hopes and despair. The title story is a particular standout. A group of airplane passengers are stuck on a layover; the story is told from their collective perspective ("For no good reason, we were flying to Chicago," it begins). The first-person plural point of view is inviting and fresh.”—Kirkus
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Black Balloon Publishing (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936787156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936787159
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Clouther was born in Boston and grew up on Cape Cod and in South Florida. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he completed his thesis under Marilynne Robinson and won the Richard Yates Fiction Award for best short story. His stories have appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Madison Review, Natural Bridge, and Puerto Del Sol. He teaches creative writing at Stony Brook University, where he coordinates the Program in Writing Reading Series, and Johns Hopkins. He lives in Floral Park, New York, with his wife and son.

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Top Customer Reviews

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Like Denis Johnson, Clouther's collection of short stories doesn't strain to find moments of humor or heartache. Whether it's the alienating, Sisyphean nightmare of air travel, small town people struggling to understand the faith of a street preacher, or the adolescent confusion that comes with adult maturity, each story is full of the revealing moments that make great literary fiction essential to the soul.
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Format: Paperback
A beautiful collection - witty, understated and altogether moving. Worth a read. And a reread.
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By Katie on November 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't wait for the next book by this author.
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