Michael Kimball

Order Us
Tyrant Books Amazon Powell's Atomic Books Kindle @ Amazon


"It’s a simply gorgeous and astonishing book, the kind that makes the outside world disappear once you open its pages."
Time Out Chicago

"Kimball has created something rare and brave."
Metro London

"tender and poignant"
Time Out London

"powerful and moving"
The Observer

"This is the saddest book I have ever read and one of the most beautiful."
Telegraph and Argus

An excerpt in #22 of The Collagist

Selected Press ::

All Things Considered (NPR)
The Baltimore Sun
The Believer
WETA's The Book Studio
Bomb (Us)
City Paper (2010)
City Paper (2009)
City Paper (2008)
City Paper: Best of Baltimore
The Guardian
HTMLGIANT (Dear Everybody)
Largehearted Boy (Us)
Largehearted Boy (Dear Everybody)
Letras Libres
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Oprah's Book of the Week
The Paris Review
Poets & Writers
Poets & Writers
Psychology Today
Publishers Weekly
The Signal
Time Out Chicago
Time Out New York (Us)
Time Out New York (Dear Everybody)
Urbanite (Big Ray)
Urbanite (Us)
Urbanite (Dear Everybody)
Vice (Big Ray)
Vice (Big Ray)
Wall Street Journal

A husband wakes up to find that his wife has had a seizure during the night. The husband calls an ambulance and his wife is rushed to a hospital where she lies in a coma. By day, the husband sits beside his wife and tries to think of ways to wake her up. At night, the husband sleeps in the chair next to his wife’s bedside dreaming that she will wake up. He wants to be able to take her back home. Years later, the story of this long and loving marriage is retold by their grandson. He wants to understand his grandmother’s life and death, what it meant to his grandfather, and what it means to him. He wants to understand–in his own words–“how love can accumulate between two people.”

Us is available from
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Tyrant Books Amazon Powell’s Atomic Books Kindle @ Amazon

Us, the book trailer

“Michael Kimball never ceases to astonish. He is a hero of contemporary fiction.”

-- Sam Lipsyte

"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."

-- Oprah’s Reading List

5 Stars: "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."

-- Time Out Chicago

“Michael Kimball’s Us is heartbreakingly lovely ... the writing’s a pleasure, and sometimes you just need to read something with weight.”

-- The Paris Review

“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.”

-- Psychology Today

"Your book, Michael Kimball, is the book I wish I could write. Your book is the book I wish every book could be. It is reification. It is haptic. It is ecstatic. Thank you, Michael Kimball, for Us."

-- Lily Hoang’s “A letter to Michael Kimball” @ HTMLGiant

"Kimball is an amazingly empathetic writer."

-- Time Out New York

[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."

-- Rain Taxi

“Be warned: this book has the power to make even the most hard-hearted of readers shed a tear. … Kimball has broken into new territory: [Us] is one of the most graphic depictions of illness and loss I have ever read.”

-- The Glasgow Herald

“A monument to love”

-- El Placer de la Lectura (Spain)

“This is the saddest book I have ever read and one of the most beautiful and unusual. A very old man wakes up in the night to find his equally-aged wife has had a stroke. Then follows a minute-to-minute account of what happens in the hospital and finally, his tender care for her back in their own home. One can't help being aware of his grief and the great love he feels for his dying wife. It will make you cry and break your heart but this is one book you must read.”

-- Telegraph and Argus

“A deep love between an aging husband and wife is given a heartbreaking voice in Michael Kimball’s second novel, [Us]. … Told through the eyes of the husband, the story is tender and poignant. His despair moves us because it is neither fantastic nor indulgent.”

-- Time Out London

“Not only does he address mortality head-on, but his narrator describes the deep and powerful love between his grandparents as his grandfather quietly and desperately watches his wife slowly dying. The grandfather’s narration is powerful and moving … uncomprehending and breathless.”

-- Observer

“Kimball has created something rare and brave in his second novel: the voice of an elderly man watching a beloved life slip away and with it the entire meaning of his own existence. … [It is a] beautifully tuned, near perfect account of a very ordinary death.”

-- Metro London

“It’s amid the surgical whiteness of a hospital ward that godless loneliness hits hardest. It’s against death in such a place that Michael Kimball’s sinewy second novel, [Us], kicks.”

-- The Guardian

“It’s easy to see why Kimball is held up as one of the potentially great literary hopes of recent times.”

-- Book Munch

“A brave book”

-- Fiction Stream

“There are two books I can remember that ever made me physically cry. There were the rape scenes in Saramago’s Blindness, and there was nearly every chapter of Michael Kimball’s [Us]. While the first hurt because it was so brutal, Kimball’s was a softer kind of invocation--as I read it in a bathtub, I could not shake the feeling of being held, as if somehow the words had interlaced my skin. This is the essence of the magic Michael Kimball holds--his sentences come on so taut, so right there, and yet somehow so calming, it's as if you are being visited by some lighted presence.”

-- Blake Butler

“haunting and awesome … beautiful and intense, and the novel's clarity and insight makes the narration even more urgent. This is a novel from a great talent.”

-- El País (Spain)

“bathed in tenderness … touching and breathtaking … one of the most moving, heartbreaking, and sad novels of contemporary American fiction. It is essential.”

-- El Razón (México)

“First, Camus showed us the human condition. Now Kimball has … with a fluid style and a dizzying empathy. Kimball is a great writer.”

-- El Mercurio (Chile)

[Us] "is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone. … at once painful and comforting."

-- Globedia (Spain/Mexico)

“a spectacular novel”

-- ABC Cultural (Spain)

“a monument to tenderness and feeling, to the true and delicate though unbreakable love of an elderly couple”

-- La Voz de Galicia (Spain)

"brilliantly written and heartbreaking in all the best ways"

-- Largehearted Boy

"One of my favorite books of the year"

-- Caroline Leavitt

"this examination of love, grief and family makes these universal themes seem achingly fresh. ... Us delivers a powerful emotional experience."

-- Charlotte Viewpoint

"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."

-- Amber Sparks, Big Other

"A Breathless Humanity": Us is "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."

--The Faster Times

"... 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."

-- Matthew Simmons, HTMLGIANT

A Top 10 Best Literary Love Story: "The story chronicles a relationship that is both bludgeoning in its sheer devastation and yet remarkably–exquisitely–beautiful ... a must read."

--The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

"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."

-- Flavorpill

Us is "tightly written, unflinchingly direct, and achingly beautiful." "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."

--The Faster Times

"a literary gem"

-- LitCh@t

"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."

-- Outsider Writers Collective

"Kimball wonderfully balances gravity with brevity. That he can pack such an emotional experience into such a small space speaks to his talents, both as a mature authority on relationships and as a craftsman of tight, effective prose. ... Each moment the husband gets to share with his wife becomes a beautiful extension of their time together on earth. ... leaves the reader absolutely floored"

--Electric Literature

Michael is "the writer you've been dreaming of"

--The Stranger

"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."

-- The Big Other

"Michael Kimball's stylistic capacities dwarf those of most contemporary fiction writers."

-- Room 220

"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."

-- New Pages

"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."

-- Urbanite

"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."

--The Laughing Yeti

"Us is such strange magic ... Us brings up something strange and terrifying to consider ... [about] the real beauty and magic of being alive ... It's a gorgeous book."

-- Corduroy Books

"5 Stars ... Michael Kimball has blown me away with his upcoming release Us -- a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel"

-- The Next Best Book Blog

“such a painful softness”: "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."

-- Red Fez

"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."

-- The Nervous Breakdown

"a devastatingly beautiful portrait of a human being losing the person who matters to him most"

-- Barn Owl Review

"I even walked to and from school in order to keep reading the novel." "Us moves you, rattles you, and shakes your spirit as a human ... read this magnificent novel."

-- BookedinChico

"an unflinching account." "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."

-- Chamber Four