Us
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Us

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  45 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Tyrant Books
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Sarah Etter
one day, i started following michael kimball on twitter. the next day, i got an email from him, asking me to come read a few stories for his reading series in baltimore. i said yes, went to baltimore with some books and met him before the reading. i guess this is a disclaimer because the minute i met this guy, i knew he was an incredible person. i ended up getting my copy of Us in exchange for buying him a soda and an order of bacon cheese fries and we spent the whole night talking about everyth...more
Shawn
I see very well why some may have struggled with or even given up on this book. In fact, I saved it from the recycle bin myself. (Well, actually, it was just my husband deciding to turn it in at the Used Book Counter for store credit, but that is recycling.) He had read another book by this author and found it frustrating and "flat", as some criticized this book for being. The author does write in a rather stilted manner - "I looked at the book. I picked the book up. I read the book's pages. I c...more
Mel Bosworth
Recently, while driving to work, I ran over two animals. The first was a red squirrel and the second was a gray squirrel. The red squirrel was just a little critter. Every red squirrel I’ve ever seen is just a little critter, not much bigger than a big mouse, but they’re fierce and aggressive around the larger but still relatively small gray squirrels.

I don’t enjoy killing animals. When I do kill an animal, it’s accidental, mostly. I still swat mosquitoes pretty quickly and I still smash black a...more
heather
This book ripped out my guts and broke my heart. In a good way.
Michael Beeman
Us is a gutsy little book. Kimball’s 184 page novel begins as a step by step account of a husband’s life as it is remade by his spouse’s seizure. A quarter of the way through, Kimball presents a chapter in new voice, a plea from the comatose wife. Soon another voice is added, that of the couple’s grandson who is meticulously imagining his grandparents’ last days in order to understand the strength of their love. Although these storylines might have been hard to sustain alone, together they even...more
Jeff Bursey
This novella, despite its competence, and the universal cheering of critics on the front pages, is a book of no great importance. It handles its theme with respect, and Kimball does a good job detailing the mental anguish of a husband as his wife is taken to hospital goes into a coma, awakes to return home, and then slowly declines. What works against that picture is the portrait of the husband, a large hole in the text we know about thanks to the narration of a grandchild, and the lack of disti...more
xTx xTx
This book is a lot lot lot about love and also a lot about death. This book is beautiful. It shows love at the end of things and, to me, it seems to be a truer love. A love that is at the end of its long. It reminds us that love is not just the big things about a person, but is oftentimes mostly the little things about a person. I think it's all of these little things that Michael Kimball shines his light on for us made me moved the most.

There are so many parts in the book that moved me deeply....more
Michael Kimball
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.
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
It kept breaking my heart till the end. So many brilliant little turns -- I love how the even-numbered parts (the autobiographical things) completely change how you think about the book... Disarm you in some way... And oddly make the book more about the husband and wife by telling you about people outside their story -- people from Kimball's life and Kimball himself. Just read it, you'll see.
Robertha
We talk about death in my household a lot, especially since the early passing of my future spouse is a very likely calamity at which we occasionally plan.

Yet I couldn't and didn't think of that as I was gripped by this beautifully sparse novel, detailing the pathetic and painfully familiar and immediately understandable gestures and minute actions by which the narrator attempts to, in turns, capture, then extend, then conjure from nothingness, the life of the ghostly and then expired wife that h...more
Melanie Page
Take the most simplistic of ideas: a husband and wife have been married a long time. The wife dies. The husband is sad. Now, take that concept and put it through the Michael Kimball filter: simple sentences. Sounds, well, simple, right? You'd be so wrong.

When I first ventured into creative writing courses, I tried to make my sentences as complex as possible, using lots of commas (correctly) and trying to find the most amazing, complex words possible. A good friend and mentor of mine, Kim Chinque...more
Erica Spangler
First of all, I want to share with you why I wanted to read Michael Kimball’s Us so desperately. I watched this heart felt and bone gripping book trailer:


Upon watching this trailer, how could you not want to know more and read Us? I was instantly intrigued and curious. I may be slightly biased. Why? Because I am known for over sympathizing with widowed males. I tend to develop fantastical and lavish stories of how it must be triumphant that they make it through life without their wives. So obvio...more
Melissa
Us moved me for sure. Kimball is really patient with death. Although every single one of us dies, I don't come across it in such a detailed fashion very often in literature. He really captures the weirdness of illness -- how when someone in your life is sick, you suddenly have a whole new language (symptoms you never knew existed that are not part of the everyday lexicon; words you say more often than you say "hello" or "milk") and also new characters (the doctors). Even pills or treatments beco...more
Amy
Book: Us

Author: Michael Kimball

Published: May 2011 by Tyrant Books, 184 pages

Date Read: April 2012

First Line: "Our bed was shaking and it woke me up afraid."

Genre/Rating: Literary fiction; 4/5 houses with all the lights left on, so the ambulance knows where to find you in the dark

Review: Get ready for all the tears.

An unnamed husband wakes up to his wife having a seizure. She is whisked away to the hospital, where they tell him she might not wake up. He doesn’t give up. He brings in all the thin...more
Renee
This book was hard to track down, after a year of expecting my library to obtain, I finally ordered it on line and I'm glad I did.
"Us" centers around an elderly man who is immersed in the breathtakingly sad process of losing his beloved wife of probably 50 plus years. It is almost childlike in it's slow movement and plain, but heartbreaking, description of this excruciating journey.(Amazon)

Michael Kimball has a very unique style of writing, and although it certainly is not for everyone, it worke...more
Peter Derk
This is a terrifying and very sad book. A husband and wife are in bed together one night when the husband wakes up to his wife shaking and not responding to him.

Things go downhill from there.

Michael Kimball, who wrote the excellent Dear Everybody, a novel written in the form of letters left behind by a man who commits suicide, uses his ear for speech to translate into text a book that finds power in simple sadness.

Take, for example, this portion towards the beginning:

I didn't want to lose my wif...more
Lori
Read 4/9/11 - 4/9/11
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book
Pgs:184

Michael Kimball has blown me away with his upcoming release Us - a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel about a husband who wakes up to find that his wife is not breathing.

Though Us is a fairly quick read, it packs a lasting punch. Cutting straight to the emotional core of each moment, Kimball uses sparse sentences and first person narration to work his spell on the reader.

The subject matter is one that most of us have had t...more
Mary
I was completely convinced I would love this book before I read it, but it fell short of my expectations. I write this from the perspective of someone who is professionally exposed to this period of people's lives, and I'm a great deal more comfortable with the subject matter than the average person. That being said, Kimball relies a little too heavily on the emotionally charged nature of death and dying to make his impact. Underneath that is a simple, repetitious writing style that momentarily...more
Ann Olson
I felt conflicted about this books at parts though I think the parts I didn't fully like we're done intentionally- like the disconnected feeling of the first half where the husband is experiencing his wife being sick. I felt like I wanted more context and emotion from him at the beginning (just now making a connection between that experience for myself and the experience of the grandchild reading the grandmas journal and wanting more). The second half got me though- i definitely struggled with t...more
Peter Choi


I originally read Us by Michael Kimball to use as a book in speech and debate competitions this year. From reading other reviews, I found out that it was a very dramatic, sad book. Us is about a husband who wakes up to find that his wife has suffered a seizure. It is the story of him trying to cope with life after knowing his wife is in the hospital in a coma. When is wide gains consciousness, they try to make the most of her time because they both know their time together is limited. Personally...more
Gina
Kimball's work is a realistic portrait of one man's sorrow over his wife's serious illness. Prior to reading this work, I read a few reviews that all commented on just how sad this story is. One reviewer even said that it was one of only two books that ever made him cry. Surprisingly, I did not shed a tear. The story is incredibly moving and the realistic nature of the work makes it feel autobiographical. Kimball's narrative is so beautifully simple and, at times, banal, that there must be enoug...more
Lena
This is a painful, beautiful little book. It felt like someone was pressing their thumb into my heart.
Peter Landau
Since having children I've no longer been able to find entertainment in violence. Each bombastic and pointless death on the screen is depicted as a cartoon, but I can't help thinking, "What about their parents, how will they ever survive this tragedy?" Now I can add husband/wife to the equation that leads to the solution of cruelty. If every artist had as empathetic a relationship to their creations as Kimball does with his there wouldn't necessarily be less death, but those ends would be far mo...more
Jenesis
I wanted to love this book. The back cover reeled me in, and perhaps, misled me. From the back cover's summary I expected a deep and emotional reflection of a husband and wife's journey of love together and how it impacted their grandson. Maybe due to my personal preference of floral and poetic writing, I found this novel to fall flat and shallow. Its simple, matter-of-fact diction took away from the potential to evoke my emotions. I'm sure it was impacting to some readers. It just wasn't my sty...more
Mike Polizzi
Good account of sickness, dying and death. Reads at times like a procedural, especially around the funeral. Spare, clean prose passes lightly. All sentiment is removed yet there's still the account of the grandparents love which strikes as the true strength of the work. The voice crossing from first to third person works better in some places than others- the first person at times feels too young and the details feel weightless.
Amy
This book was unexpectedly short - I had it on Kindle and wasn't paying attention to page range. However, the author really relayed his message without beating you about the head or belaboring the point. Days after I put it down, I am still thinking about parts of it and what it all means. The line that grief is a form of fear was very interesting to me. At any rate, it was well worth a read.
Mostafa
Not that great of a book, to be honest. Pretty boring, but a sweet story I guess. Definitely had the potential to be a great endearing love story, but in the end fell miserably short of that mark. This felt more like a memoir of Kimball's grandfather more than a fictitious story. US by Michael Kimball is a strong meh.
Jamie
This book made me reflect on my personal experiences with death of loved ones. It's told from a man's perspective and details the events at the end of his wife's life, and though they may be small and insignificant to those outside the relationship, they highlight the love and companionship "accumulated over time".
Trey Harris
everyone was talking about how this book made them cry, and I thought "ok, I cry at things a lot so maybe I will cry when I read this." I read the first 1/2 of the book and thought "ok, this is pretty sad, but I don't think I will cry." I did end up crying, though. this is a good book, so I gave it 5 stars.
Christopher
The straightforward, unadorned prose translates directly into feelings of shock, despair, tenderness, longing, and grief. There's not much point to it besides the evocation of trauma and loss, but it does that pretty well.
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Michael Kimball's third novel, DEAR EVERYBODY, will be published in the UK, US, and Canada this year. His first two novels, THE WAY THE FAMILY GOT AWAY (2000) and HOW MUCH OF US THERE WAS (2005), have both been translated (or are being translated) into many languages. He is also responsible for the art project--Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard)--and the documentary film, I Wil...more
More about Michael Kimball...
Dear Everybody Big Ray How Much of Us There Was The Way the Family Got Away Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard)

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“I watched you wake up and try to wake me up too. I could still feel you touch my face and my cheek. I liked the way you brushed my hair back with your hand. I liked the way held onto my hands with your hands. They must have felt a little cold and a little wet but they started to feel warm again when you held onto them. I want you to know that I stayed there with you and held onto you too.” 6 likes
“I couldn't get myself to bend down or pick up any dirt to throw it on her casket. I couldn't help to cover her up unless it was with a blanket and only her face were still showing.” 1 likes
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