Taken together, these unsent letters tell the remarkable story of Jonathon’s life.
Everybody, the book
"Kimball creates a sort of curatorial masterpiece, finding the perfect spot for everything that a life comprises. ... As Dear Everybody draws to a close, the letters and accompanying texts become progressively more intense and unexpected. ... The final power of Dear Everybody is that the reader shares in the inevitably conflicted feelings of those closest to Jonathon."
-- The Believer
"There is a whole life contained in
this slim novel, a life as funny and warm and sad and
heartbreaking as any other, rendered with honest
complexity and freshness by Kimball's sharp writing."
"In addition to writing stunning prose,
Kimball evocatively hints at entire physical and
emotional worlds lying just behind his story’s surface.
In many cases, the author’s verbal compression both
amplifies and dampens the tragic clamor of Jonathon’s
letters ... they harbor such a strange emotional power
that you’ll find them hard to forget."
-- Michael Miller, Time Out New
"I don’t always say this, so I hope you
will indulge me: Read Dear
is a work of literary inventiveness and great
is named one of the
"25 Important Books of the
00s" at HTMLGIANT
Dear Everybody is on Flavorwire's Ultimate Hipster Reading List
Dear Everybody is now available as an ebook.
Dear Everybody is "a beautifully crafted collage of life" (5 stars)
-- Lori Hettler, The Next Best Book
Michael is “a generous genius”
"Michael Kimball Is Perfect" -- "the
next great new literary discovery"
-- Celeste Sollod, Reading
"Each moment of [Dear
magical. ... Using smooth rhythms, polished tones and
humorous observations, Kimball gives us a monster of a
family that somehow the reader needs to know. ... The
explicit humanity rendered throughout, make
truly great read. That Kimball is able to polish each
element–each entry–in the collection to a high sheen
evidences a talent not often seen."
is one of the finest, most
heartbreaking books I’ve ever read ... Kimball writes his
characters with a tenderness that moves me profoundly ...
The complexity in Dear Everybody
builds subtly, but by the
end of the book the immensity of the story that has been
told is staggering."
--Roxane Gay, HTMLGIANT
"I know of no one ... who knows and
understands every cog and flywheel and screw of the
language machine to the degree of Kimball's reach."
"Michael Kimball's third book,
kick you hard in the ass!"
--William Hughes, American
Michael the Featured Fiction Writer
at The Nervous
Dear Everybody is "forever embedded in my brain"
-- John Madera, Word Riot
Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)
"Kimball's writing flourishes ... painting a sadly beautiful picture of a childhood and life"
-- The L Magazine
is "a beautiful book,
inside and out"
-- Jessie Cary, Shape of a
... touches the heart of
hearts ... snowflake-like letters ... exquisite ... the
innermost feelings of real feeling ... "
"Your heart will ache for Jonathon as
he misinterprets the world and struggles to find his
place within it."
-- Bloomington Public Library
Michael Kimball "is already delivering
the future of the novel." He is "one of the authentic
innovators in contemporary fiction," who should be
compared to Raymond Carver and Italo Calvino, and his
writing "sings the most intimate tragedies of the Great
-- Mauricio Montiel Figueiras,
Michael Kimball is "the dark overlord
of all things writing, film and interview." DEAR
EVERYBODY is "moving, even paralyzing ... pain can be
captured on the page both sparsely and lyrically, an
achievement that is magical."
-- Ben Tanzer, This Blog Will Change Your
"The most recent socks-knocker-offer
Michael Kimball. It's right up there with the best I've
-- Nik Perring, Nik's Blog
"Kimball’s background as a poet is
apparent in his ability to isolate and frame small
moments of a particular character’s experience. Fine
attention to detail is exercised both as an art and as a
special effect ... It has a surprisingly strong dark
humor for being about such a serious topic, his
observations are keen and quirky, and he knows how to let
imagery make a scene swell. ... This writing spree
[Jonathon's suicide letters] has all the highs and lows
of a drug binge."
is "a quiet tour de force
... Writing a novel with a moral centre without being
‘preachy’ is not easy. Michael Kimball deserves great
-- Charlie Wykes, The View From
"elegantly and eloquently written ...
It's an unforgettable book ... I highly recommend it"
-- Anne Stinson, The
"Kimball does a superb job. ... The
picture that is drawn, though, is unutterably sad. It’s a
difficult read in places, but moving, more real and
heartfelt than many stories where authors cover up their
discomfort by giving their characters extravagant
-- Bruce Dennill, The Citizen
"Lightning has struck again with this
Baltimorean's book ... Kimball's protagonist possesses an
emotional clarity that makes his eventual suicide all the
more believable and tragic. ... You feel his pain."
-- John Lewis, Baltimore
is a "brilliantly designed
novel ... It left me feeling as if the author left a huge
chunk of his heart on the page and it is this generosity
and depth that left me stunned."
-- Katrina Denza,
"Human Destiny Starkly Illuminated"
-- Rupert Wondolowski,
"Read this Book": "Dear Everybody
is inventive, ingenious and
downright irresistible, a series of letters left behind
that present an astonishing life."
-- Caroline Leavitt,
"A wonderful, clever, imaginative and
moving book. It really is quite something ... a fucking
-- Scott Pack, Me and My Big
"In Kimball's careful hands the
epistolary form really gets to a special place. The
assemblage of textual evidence of Jonathan's dissolution
feels like a personal discovery. You don't feel as if
there is a story being told, it's as if you are
uncovering the story and telling it to yourself. I think
that's where Kimball really succeeds, he pieces this
novel together in just the right way so you don't really
know that he pieced together this novel in just the right
-- M. T. Fallon, Trestle
is "striking, witty, and
above all moving. ... And here’s the most impressive
thing to me – what Michael Kimball has done is to portray
formally the fragmentation of a life (yet in a holistic
and wholly satisfying way) – something which the form of
a traditional novel would belie."
Michael Kimball "made me cry by
creating a character called Jonathon, and making me care
about him as if he were a member of my own
"sweet, sad and completely authentic."
--Fiona Robyn, Planting
"lives in the head of the
reader after we have read it ... The letters combine to
create a wonderful resonance that feels immensely vivid
and real ... a lot of writers will read
Everybody wishing they had thought of something
like this themselves."
-- Adrian Graham, Digital Fiction
"unputdownable ... the most searingly
honest and authentic sentiments I have ever read ... I
had to pick myself up off the floor at the end ... easily
the best read of 2009 thus far."
-- Lizzy Siddal, Lizzy's Literary
Susan Tomaselli conducts an extended, collage-like
interview with Michael in Dogmatika
"... the perfect way to tell the story of a man who has fallen through the net ... remembering that he has taken his own life gives a forensic importance to the documents. As you go through the evidence you may find yourself caring more with each page not only about his sad, short life but the continuing narrative of those other voices around him."
-- William Rycroft, Just William's
"stunning...Kimball has crafted an
-- Citizen Dick
is "a touching story of
human relationships and how they can go wrong, and a
story which made me stop to ponder the long-lasting
effects our actions can have on others."
-- Tanabata, In Spring It Is
An interview in Lizzy's Literary Life
William Rycroft interviews Michael in Just William's Luck about how the book took shape, unreliable narrators, and writing about mental illness. Plus, the interview includes a six-word story and other publishing exclusives.
Ryan Manning asked Michael some questions for his interview blog, Thunk, and he tried to answer them. The questions are more difficult than they first appear to be.
349 Pieces: On Writing Dear Everybody in The View From Here
"In this intimate epistolary novel, a mentally ill weather man radiates crystalline awareness and luminous delusion while his family and others who knew him try to make sense of his tragic life. Both gloomy and amusing, Kimball's flurry of short short stories remind us of the necessity of communicating and the daunting difficulty of truly connecting."
"very affecting, warm" and "wry and
funny and sweet"
-- Simon Appleby, Bookgeeks
5 stars (out of 5): "beautifully
heartbreaking" and "a genuine discovery"
--Kathleen Wächter, The Junction
--Dan Wickett, EWN
"one of the hottest, most innovative
books of the year"
"the novel is spot on. It amazes me
that a writer can build suspense in a story where we
already know the ending. It’s kind of awesome. In fact, I
enjoyed this book so much I did something I never do. I
wrote the author a fan letter."
-- Jodi Chromey, Minnesota
is about a weatherman who
commits suicide, and it is heart-achingly good."
--Matthew Simmons, Hobart
a "gripping book for fall" and "oddly
"I’m giving this novel five out of
five, it was so dark (though not disturbing) yet
touching, I loved reading this novel and would recommend
it to anyone."
is a book both intricate
and new, painful and engaging, tapping on the clearest
rendering of what is human, on the importance of the
rhythm of each word. Dear Everybody
is so many things--a
collage, a hypnosis, an invention, a thing of awe,
perhaps a warning--a work of new that will no doubt
linger in your mind and in your stomach and in your aging
skin for quite some time."
-- Blake Butler, Keyhole
"Kimball has written a book of beauty.
It's a sad book and a wonderful one, and one that made me
-- Joseph Young, JMWW
"Each fragment drifts across the page
like a cumulous cloud and the cumulative effect of
Kimball's book is melancholy and elegiac and
-- Susan McCallum-Smith,
Kimball's "latest book could be a
breakout for him. ...his work is about death, and it has
been stripped down in the stark way it deserves."
-- Bill Castanier, City Pulse
is a cleverly constructed
book that balances pathos and humor exquisitely, and
proves Michael Kimball to be a master storyteller."
-- David Gutowski, Largehearted
“quite a literary feat … the character
of Jonathon Bender is stripped down to his emotional
-- Gregg Wilhelm,
"Kimball writes with such deep emotion
and crafts his sentences with such mastery that he sweeps
away his own footprints and allows the reader unhindered
access to the story. The fragmented nature of the book
makes it an addictive read, giving the reader regular
breaks while at the same time drawing them along. I often
found myself thinking, 'Just one more letter. One more
diary entry. One more interview,' until it was time to go
back to the beginning and start over. With
Michael Kimball achieves the perfect balance of form and
content, comedy and tragedy – all without sliding into
melodrama or sentimentality, instead evoking genuine
emotion that will remain with readers far beyond the last
-- Josh Maday,
is a quick read, yet very
interesting and true to life. This book tells the tale of
infidelity, mental illness, and the fact that life is
often hard to manage."
"Quirky, and idiosyncratic, this is a
very amusing novel that is oddly endearing, and conceals
a warm heart beneath its wit."
is "inventive and often
extremely funny, but it will also break your heart.
Michael Kimball is one of the most talented and original
writers in America today. You should read his books."
for Dear Everybody
“In Bender’s unsent letters of apology or thanks, Michael Kimball transforms the familiar into the strange again and the simplest confessions are made moments of sublime wonder. Hold on to this book.”
-- Christine Schutt, author of All Souls
has the page-turning
urgency of a mystery and the thrilling formal
inventiveness of the great epistolary novels. Jonathon
Bender's magical letters to the world that never wrote to
him are at once whimsical, anguished, funny, utterly
engaging and, finally, unforgettable.”
-- Maud Casey, author of Genealogy
“Michael Kimball's wise-hearted
epistolary portrait of an endearingly honest, suicidal
depressive is by turns hilarious and haunting--and always
thrillingly deep, surprising, and pitch-perfect.
Everybody confirms Kimball's reputation as one of
our most supremely gifted and virtuosic renderers of the
human predicament. It's as moving a novel as I have read
of Stories in
the Worst Way
“I love this book, love the strangely
detailed world that accumulates through letters, lists,
yearbook quotes, and psychological evaluations.
And I love the character of Jonathon Bender, the way he makes me so sad and also makes me laugh so hard. He will stay with me forever.”
-- Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim
“Dear Michael Kimball: Thank you for
this book. What Jonathon Bender writes in his unsent
letters are what each of us longs to say, what all of us
have been saying our whole lives, just not out loud.”
-- Stephen Graham
“In his third novel, Kimball gives us
the singular life of Jonathon Bender through a collage of
different voices and sources and in beautifully rendered
sentences. He mercilessly gives us a sense of the man and
his trajectory, bringing us painfully close to Bender
himself. This is a compassionate and compelling account
of the quiet ways in which a life goes wrong.”
-- Brian Evenson, author of The Open