Big Ray’s temper and obesity define him. When Big Ray dies, his son feels mostly relief, dismissing his other emotions. Yet years later, the adult son must reckon with the outsized presence of his father’s memory. This stunning novel, narrated in more than five hundred brief entries, moves between past and present, between his father’s death and his life, between an abusive childhood and an adult understanding. Shot through with humor and insight that will resonate with anyone who has experienced a complicated parental relationship, Big Ray is a staggering family story—at once brutal and tender, sickening and beautiful.

“Gorgeous” —

“Big Ray is a disgusting man and a great character. He’s dead at the start of the novel, and it’s impossible not to wish him deader. … Mr. Kimball is not one to flinch, and this portrayal is the better for it.” – The New York Times

“Distilled, intense … Fear and revulsion mingle with a kind of helpless love.” — The Boston Globe

[Big Ray is] “astonishingly moving … to mesmerizing effect. … Big Ray is an appalling tale told with anger, dark humor and surprising tenderness.” — The Wall Street Journal 

“In his novel BIG RAY, Kimball offers a complex and graceful peek at one man’s grieving process: It’s a eulogy, a tribute, an indictment, and a painfully truthful examination of fathers and sons.” — Los Angeles Times, Jacket Copy

“Stunning … gripping … fascinating” — BBC Radio 4

“Emotional and yet funny” — The Baltimore Sun

“This plainspoken novel about a man coming to terms with his abusive father’s death sneaks up on you–and is unlike anything else you’ve read.” — Reader’s Digest

“Prepare to be utterly punished” — Vice

An excerpt of Big Ray @ Vice

“Psychologically acute, Michael Kimball’s narrative is … both ingenious and painfully funny, as well as deeply moving.” — Daily Mail

“Despite his disturbing material, Kimball manages his narrative with a dark humor, as well as stirring empathy. Big Ray is an ogre, yes but a multi-faceted one — and most poignantly, a father whose son continues to yearn for his love.” — Financial Times

“Paperback of the Week: … in this sparingly written document, which pares back all extraneous detail to get at the emotional core, there’s a striking degree of honesty, which Kimball/Carrier tries to present almost casually as though he weren’t deeply troubled but just thinking things through. It is, above all, a convincing depiction of a man trying to work through conflicting emotions.” — The Herald

“It is rare for obesity to be tackled this directly in literature and Kimball is ahead of the pack with this intimate account … Kimball’s delicately layered account of Daniel’s efforts to connect with his dad builds to a whole that is intensely moving.” — The Independent

“One of ‘The Ten Best Books of 2012’” — L Magazine

MK’s article about the underrepresentation of overweight characters @ Huffington Post

“Dude can write.” — HTMLGIANT

“There aren’t many characters as big as Big Ray in modern fiction.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

“Together, the fragments form a surprisingly enthralling portrait of an abusive father … a spellbinding and unflinching meditation on forgiveness, a novel that secures Kimball’s reputation as a literary innovator.” — Time Out Chicago

“Michael Kimball has been writing innovative, compelling and beautifully felt books for years, but Big Ray seems a break-through and culmination all at once. It’s funny and terrifying and it’s his masterpiece, at least so far.” — Sam Lipsyte

“An uncompromising work of power and grace. I finished reading it a week ago, but I still can’t put it down.” — Jon McGregor

“Reading Big Ray is like hearing a close friend processing some serious loss. Michael Kimball does emotional immediacy better than any writer alive, I shit you not.” — HTMLGIANT

MK and Brad Listi talk about polar bears, the ocean, eating a burrito, and a fear of finishing @ Other People.

“The book reads like a memoir, the entirely believable product of a son grappling with the death and life of his father. The narrator talks frankly of his estrangement and efforts to connect, the abuse he suffered and his mixed feelings; the obituary, he notes, listed those who preceded Ray in death and those who survived him. ‘I’m one of the people who survived.’” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Big Ray is a great novel, a small books that happens to be about the idea of bigness. … Measured sentences come one after another, like ticking time bombs. … Kimball’s prose is so luminously clear that each new paragraph seems like another piece of evidence in the case for and against Big Ray. … I finished it feeling shaken. In this small book Kimball has captured the terrible contradictions of life as it’s lived.” — The Brooklyn Rail 

“Michael Kimball’s Big Ray is a powerfully intimate and sorrowful work, a novel that will forever mark your consciousness with its indelible and heartfelt beauty.” — Largehearted Boy

MK talks about obesity in fiction on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book.

“Michael Kimball gained a devoted following with three brilliant novels (Us, Dear Everybody, and The Way the Family Got Away), all of which deal honestly and unconventionally with loss. His latest work, Big Ray, is his most powerful: A propulsive first-person narrative by a man mourning his abusive and obese (over 500 pounds) father’s death. — The Center for Fiction

“Both humorous and heartbreaking, it has gained a permanent place on my bookshelf. … It’s a book to return to again and again … for life.” — Bookseller