Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

We Are Meant to Be Robots

There's a super nice review of Us up at Insatiable Booksluts. It says, in part: "I really loved this book. It’s a very quick read – I finished it in one day. The last stretch was in the breakroom at work, and I was blinking away tears. We’re not to show emotion at work. WE ARE MEANT TO BE ROBOTS. So my coworkers were not overly impressed with the crying. I passed it off as allergies. Yay for reading this in springtime! Excellent little book. Kimball’s great with emotion and realism and pain and the truth behind a lifetime of love. Highly recommended."
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"Since reading Us, I wish most books were Us instead."

The human kindness that is Joseph Riippi is interviewed at The L Magazine where he is asked: "What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers' lives for the better?" And where he answers: "Always and forever, Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje is a book to love. And Michael Kimball’s Us makes me cry each time. I wish I had written Us. Since reading Us, I wish most books were Us instead. I love Us so much. You should love Us, too."
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Literary Equations


There's a really thoughtful review of Us up at Literary Equations. The good Matt Rowan says, in part: "The novel is heartbreaking, crushing ... powerfully so. It's the good kind of crushing, too."
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Us for City Paper's The Year In Books

I'm excited that City Paper named Us to its Top Ten list for The Year in Books, along with books by some of my favorite writers—Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Errol Morris, Lawrence Weschler, etc. City Paper says, in part: "We’re all familiar with the classic boy-meets-girl scenario, but what would happen if the tale kept going? Kimball takes the reader to the end of the love story—the real end—and shows just how crushing it can be. "
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The Bomb Interview: My Mind Zooming In



My friend and genius Adam Robinson interviewed me about Us for Bomb. He asks me some impossible questions and I tell him what I'd be doing if I wasn't writing novels.
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Us Named a Top Ten Indie by Book Page


Book Page has named its Top 10 Indie Picks for 2011 and Us tops the list, which also has great titles by Joshua Mohr, Alan Heathcock, Ryan Bradley, Steve Himmer, Adam Mansbach, Lavinia Ludlow, Vanessa Veselka, Franki Elliot, and Ben Tanzer. Many thanks for Lori Hettler.
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Fall for the Book


I'm excited to be reading from Us tonight at George Mason University's Fall for the Book with the wonderful Amelia Gray and Matt Bell. It's 8pm tonight in the Student Union Building, Rooms 3, 4, & 5.
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This Was Pretty Nice

Baltimore Magazine included me on their list of Top Five Writers -- along with John Waters, Laura Lippman, Madison Smartt Bell, and Stephen Dixon. Here's the blurb: "One of the funniest guys around wrote Us, one of the saddest and most poignant books that you'll ever read."
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Me and Us on WYPR

I recorded this segment for WYPR's Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast a couple of months ago and missed it when it aired, but the podcast is available now. Before me, there are segments about crime in Baltimore and a study about news sources, then I'm around the 24-minute mark. Tom Hall is an incredibly generous question-asker.

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The Beautiful Sadness of Impermanence

There's a wonderful review of Us at Word Riot, which says, in part: "In his latest novel, Us, Michael Kimball delivers a gripping, forceful ode to that almost-forgotten lifelong theater of affection and agony between a man and a woman, an impeccably rendered meditation on what the Japanese call mono no ware, the beautiful sadness of impermanence. ... [Kimball] has taken contemporary fiction and turned on the light of a sparsely decorated dark and beautiful room to which it has perhaps never been." Many thanks to Chris Vola and to Jackie Corley.
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Five Lit Things + The Paris Review


New York Magazine picked the Franklin Park reading I'm doing with Joshua Cohen, Kio Stark, Robert Tumas, and Amy Benfer as one of five literary events to check out next week.

Plus, Sadie Stein at The Paris Review wrote a nice tidbit that calls Us "heartbreakingly lovely" and the writing "a pleasure."
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The Kindle Us


The Kindle version of Us is now available. Many thanks, as always, to the Tyrant and to Tyrant Books.
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Welcome to the Golden Age

There's a wonderful group review -- books by Blake Butler, Scott McClanahan, Joshua Cohen, and me -- in the Charlotte Viewpoint. Jeff Jackson makes an interesting argument -- that "we’re living through a golden age for American literature" -- and then goes on to say nice things about each of our books. Of Us, he says, "this examination of love, grief and family makes these universal themes seem achingly fresh. ... Us delivers a powerful emotional experience."
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Rain Taxi, Birdsong, Momentary Melodies

There's a really nice review of Us in Rain Taxi that says Us is "incredibly raw and unabashedly real ... Kimball wins us over by his impressive emotional authenticity. Us is so authentic that one might mistake it for an autobiography." You can only see it in the print version of Rain Taxi or at Powell's Review-a-Day.

Then there's this five-question, one-minute interview at Birdsong.

And I missed this a couple of weeks ago, but there's a really sweet and thoughtful video review of Us at Momentary Melodies. Thank you, Lauren.
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Used Furniture



I'm interviewed at Used Furniture where we talk about Us, Dear Everybody, sadness and reckoning, euphoria and writing, and writing as something that is rendered.
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Oprah Says Really Nice Things About Us

Oprah says some really nice things about Us: "The best little novel you haven't heard about, Us ... Kimball's clear-eyed prose unlocks the most vulnerable voice ... creating an emotional link that leaves no reader untouched."
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The Playlist for Us at Largehearted Boy

I've always loved Largehearted Boy and I had a lot of fun listening to everything song on my iPod to make a playlist for Us. There's Beck, Wilderness, Neutral Milk Hotel, Mazzy Star, The Cure, Celebration, and a cover of a Blue Oyster Cult song.
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Be Brave on the Page


The wonderful Caroline Leavitt asked me some smart questions about Us and I did my best to answer them. We talk about the origins for the book, the moment-to-moment structure, and making sentences do many things.
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The Book Made It Happen

The wonderful Amber Sparks wrote a moving and personal review of Us for Big Other that says, in part: "I’ve read review after review of this amazing book that turns back on itself and becomes a sort of self-examination by the reviewer. I think that says more about the brilliance of Kimball’s novel than it does about us readers ... Michael Kimball’s wonderful book ... it fastened itself around my neck as I read, got in my eyes, swam in my bloodstream, infected my brain. The book made it happen. Us became a story about my grandfather, about my husband, about the people I love and the loss I fear."
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A Personal Review (of sorts) of Us


The good Mel Bosworth wrote a thoughtful, personal review (of sorts) of Us for OWC that says, in part: "Michael Kimball is a rare, rare writer, a writer whose empathy knows no limits. He holds the note of loss and his voice never cracks."
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A Breathless Humanity


The fine Brandon Hobson wrote a beautiful review of Us for The Faster Times that says, in part: "... bold and generous. Its greatest strength is the sensitivity with which Kimball explores the complexities of understanding pain and watching someone you love die. Us is a book that evocatively renders the static of sadness into a breathless humanity."
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Time Out New York on Us


The good Drew Toal wrote a nice, descriptive review of Us for Time Out New York that says, in part: "Kimball is an amazingly empathetic writer."
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Lily Hoang on Us @ Htmlgiant


I have always felt grateful whenever I have received a good review. I have always felt grateful when it seems as if somebody gets what I have written. But I feel something beyond that after reading Lily Hoang's piece, A letter to Michael Kimball--a moving and beautiful reading of Us. I can still feel what she says in the middle of my chest. Thank you, Lily.
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Nathan Martin Interviews Me at Room 220

Nathan Martin interviews me about Us at Room 220. He says all kinds of nice things like this: "Michael Kimball's stylistic capacities dwarf those of most contemporary fiction writers." And he asks me all kinds of smart questions that get deep into the craft and thought behind Us. All of this is in anticipation of the Dirty Southern Cross Tour, which ends in New Orleans with a reading at the Antenna Gallery in New Orleans on Thursday, June 9th, 7pm (see two posts down for more).
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Us at Creative Loafing


There's a nice interview about Us, compression, beautiful documentaries, and the reputation of The Tyrant at Creative Loafing -- this in anticipation of the kickoff reading for the Dirty Southern Cross Tour (see immediately below) -- tomorrow, 7pm at the Beep Beep Gallery, with Marc Fitten. Many thanks to Wyatt Williams.
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Dirty Southern Cross Tour

I have a bunch of Us stuff coming up. Tomorrow, June 2, I'm reading and doing a Q&A at Atomic Books, 7pm -- plus, there will be adult beverages.

Friday, June 3, I'm looking forward to joining the discussion at #LitChat -- just use the #litchat hash tag.

Saturday, the Tyrant is giving me a break. Sunday, the 5th, is the beginning of the Dirty Southern Cross Tour, at the Beep Beep Gallery.

When I leave Atlanta, I'm taking Blake Butler with me. Monday, the 6th, we'll be reading at Portland Brew East in Nashville.

Tuesday, the 7th, we'll be reading at Square Books in Oxford -- where there will also be a special appearance by William Faulkner.

Wednesday, we'll mostly be gambling at little casinos along the Mississippi River. Thursday, the 9th, we'll be reading at the Antenna Gallery in New Orleans. I hope to see you in any of those places.
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New Pages


There's a nice review of Us in New Pages. Audrey Quinn says, in part: "I sat down with the book and didn’t get up until I finished without realizing that any time had passed. ... The man’s story is heart-wrenching and he holds onto you without letting go, not that you would ever want him to."
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Top 10 Best Modern Literary Love Stories

Cortnee Howard made a list of the Top 10 Best Modern Literary Love Stories and I am happy to see Us on the list along with Jodi Picoult's Second Glance, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Of Us, Cortnee says, in part: "The story chronicles a relationship that is both bludgeoning in its sheer devastation and yet remarkably–exquisitely–beautiful ... a must read."
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Time Out Chicago on Us

There's a really great 5-star review of Us in Time Out Chicago. The wonderful Jonathan Messinger says, in part: "The sentences and even paragraphs simulate the stunned but dutiful response to the suffering of a loved one: short, raw and somewhat elliptical, wrapping themselves around the small tasks at hand and the larger questions constantly raised. ... Kimball’s short chapters cast such a hypnotic spell, the reader is able to plug directly into the character’s grief. It’s a simply gorgeous and astonishing book, the kind that makes the outside world disappear once you open its pages."
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Big Other

Over at Big Other, the poet John Poch writes an attentive review of Us. John says, in part: "Michael Kimball faces mortality directly, confronting the passionate life in the most poetic sentences I’ve read from a fiction writer in a long time. And by poetic, I don’t mean that the prose is prettified with a lot of adjectives and fancy syntactical flourishes. It is poetic in the sense that the sentences seem made, hewn, created by a mind and hand that love the way we think and talk in sentences. ... After having finished one of the saddest books I’ll probably ever read, I was filled with a strange exuberance. ... If death is a sentence, Michael Kimball has found its words."
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Laughing Yeti: Where the Sadness and the Love Exist

The good Shome Dasgupta has a beautiful review of Us up at The Laughing Yeti. He says, in part: "There is this gentility and softness and purity that becomes some kind of being, and this being, by the end of the book, is us. ... There is a gap here in what is actually happening and what is going on in the narrator's head, and it is in this gap where the sadness and the love exist."
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Urbanite: When Us Becomes Me

Cara Ober has a thoughtful review of Us in the Urbanite. She says, in part: "Kimball's naked prose magnifies the poignancy of the situation ... Us is a reminder that we are all tragedies waiting to happen. It makes you aware of the fragility of your own heart, of the dull ache it often carries. Some readers may find Us depressing, but with its awareness comes a gem of appreciation for the life you currently lead, even with its eventual demise. This book shines a laser beam into the deep, dark places in the human soul, and renders them oddly transparent."
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Write Up of KGB


Elka Reads has a funny and strange write up of the launch party for Us at KGB. The room is crowded. There is an open bar and literary football. Sam gets stalked. The Tyrant tells stories. And I read in a haunting tenor.
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Flavorpill: Devastingly Sad

There's a great review of Us at Flavorpill. The thoughtful Russ Marshalek says: "One of the saddest [books], and most compelling, ... is Michael Kimball’s gutting new novel, Us ... We consumed the entire book in one subway ride, and got more than a few strange glances our way as Kimball’s novel caused us to convulse with sobs." The piece goes on to name ten other devastatingly sad books--which includes books by Cormac McCarthy, Emma Donoghue, Ernest Hemingway, Ian McEwan, Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Lorrie Moore.
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Us Might Break Your Heart, But It's the Good Kind of Break


The wonderful Jessica Anya Blau interviews me about Us at The Nervous Breakdown. We talk about dying, crying, spiritualism, sadness, and tenderness. Jessica also says, "Us might break your heart, but it's a good kind of break-- the kind that reminds you how nice it is to be alive."
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An Excerpt from Us in The Collagist

There's an excerpt from Us in #22 of The Collagist. There's also great work from J.A. Tyler, Sarah Norek, Mathias Svalina, Ofelia Hunt, Johannes Göransson, Russel Swensen, Emilia Phillips, Joseph A. W. Quintela, Kellam Ayres, and Brian Evenson -- and thoughtful reviews from Renée E. D'Aoust, Adam Parker Cogbill, Melanie Page, Gavin Pate, and Anna Clark. Many thanks to Matt Bell.
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The Faster Times: Achingly Beautiful

The goodness that is Lincoln Michel has a super nice announcement about Us at The Faster Times. He calls the novel "tightly written, unflinchingly direct, and achingly beautiful." He says: "The prose is as clean as a surgical incision and Kimball dives directly into the dark waters of love and mortality that most writers only dip their toes into. This is a book you should be reading."


He also mentions the launch party, which will be tomorrow at 7:30pm at KGB, which will include me, Us, Sam Lipsyte, and the Tyrant.
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Such a Painful Softness

There's a really thoughtful review of Us by the good Robert Kloss at Red Fez. The review opens like this: "Michael Kimball’s Us is, as much as we may not want to admit it, the story of all of us and what we daily attempt to ignore: that eventually our loved ones, our spouses and significant relations, will either die and leave us or we will die and leave them." Toward the end of the review, there's this phrase -- "such a painful softness" -- that seems to capture the feeling of the novel.
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Elliot Feels His Feelings

This htmlgiant interview may be the most fun that I've ever had on the interviewee side of the interview. The wonderful Matthew Simmons and I talked back and forth about Us as he read it over the course of a few weeks. We talked about the different ways that hearts can break, E.T., blowback, and a bunch of other stuff. Among other things, Matthew says this of Us: ‎"... disarmingly simple, gorgeously structured, and as achingly sad a book as I have ever read. I had to stop a couple of times. I really did. The book’s elderly couple—so painfully aware of the fact that one of them is living the last parts of her life—are drawn so concisely, and the situation is so precisely rendered, it was hard not to spend all my time living in it even when I wasn’t reading the book."
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5.10.11 Pub Day for Us


It's pub day for Us and I couldn't be happier that the novel now officially exists in America. The release party is this Saturday, the 14th, at KGB, which includes me, Us, Sam Lipsyte, an open bar, and the Tyrant. I hope to see you there, if you live near there.
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Two Nice Reviews of Us

The good Erica Spangler gives Us a great review at BookedinChico. My favorite line is where she says, "I even walked to and from school in order to keep reading the novel." She also says, "Us moves you, rattles you, and shakes your spirit as a human ... read this magnificent novel."

Plus, over at Chamber Four, Mike Beeman calls Us "an unflinching account." Then says, "Kimball takes many risks in Us and ... the risks pay off, leading to a conclusion that is as surprising as it is inevitable, and deeply satisfying."
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Psychology Today: One True Thing

At Psychology Today, the wonderful Jennifer Haupt asks me some thoughtful questions and I do my best to answer them. Besides that, she says this about Us: "Be forewarned: when you pick up Us, Michael Kimball's haunting story of love and letting go, you will not be able to put it down."
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Nice Review of Us at Corduroy Books

There's a really nice review of Us at Corduroy Books (along with a review of Andrew Krivak's The Sojourn). The good Weston Cutter says things like this: "Us is such strange magic ... Us brings up something strange and terrifying to consider: that the real beauty and magic of being alive—a long marraige made of compromise and attempting to do right by the person one’s sworn before god to do right by—may not even be able to be communicated by anything more fancy than the simplest, most basic statements (what, after all, is sadder to read than “My wife stopped breathing”? If you can actually connect with those words, can empathize with whatever speaker’s uttered them, can many statements be more devastating?). ... (but there’s plenty more reason to read it, not least is the searching, fumbling, totally humble way Kimball writes himself into the story of his grandparents and tries to understand what it is that’s in between people who’ve spent a lifetime beside each other). It’s a gorgeous book."
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Us: Release Party

The release party for Us is going to be at KGB on May 14, 7:30pm. My friend Sam Lipsyte will read a little something and I will read a little something and then there's going to be an open bar, because that's how my publisher does it. Here's more information on the release party, as well as the rest of the book tour.

Pre-orders are now available at Tyrant Books and at Amazon.
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The Animation of Us

Us from Michael Kimball on Vimeo.


Luca Dipierro's beautiful and heartbreaking animation -- based on a single sentence from Us. Preorders are open at Tyrant Books.
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Us @ The Next Best Book Club


There's a really nice early review of Us at The Next Best Book Club. The good Lori Hettler says, "Michael Kimball has blown me away with his upcoming release Us -- a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel." Plus, she pulled one of my favorite bits as an excerpt.

Preorders are open at Tyrant Books.
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A Devastatingly Beautiful Portrait


There's a wonderful early review of Us by the good Michael Goroff at the Barn Owl Review in which he calls the novel a "devastatingly beautiful portrait of a human being losing the person who matters to him most." Many thanks to Michael and to Mary Biddinger.

There's also an except from Us called Home Things up in the first anniversary issue of Corium. Many thanks to Lauren Becker.

Preorders are open at Tyrant Books.
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Us

I think that I love this book more than any of my other books. I had more fun writing Dear Everybody, but writing Us changed me in fundamental way. The novel was first published in the UK, South Africa, and Australia in 2005. The Spanish translation came out last fall and there is an Italian translation in the works. I couldn't be happier that it is now getting its American release with Tyrant Books, where pre-orders are now open. Thank you, Gian.
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