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3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  291 Ratings  ·  54 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,056)
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Sarah Etter
May 30, 2011 Sarah Etter rated it it was amazing
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
High Plains Library District
Feb 09, 2015 High Plains Library District rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peter, adult
Nobody writes like Michael Kimball. Nobody.

The plot isn't what makes this book. It's simple. We have an old couple nearing the end of their lives.

What makes this book is the voice. I've never read anything like it. Michael Kimball disappears. The text on the page disappears. And all that's left is the voice of this character, this frightened old man who just wants his wife to stay with him, stay alive with him and stay at home with him.

The book is simple. What it has to say is simple. It's the
Jun 28, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it
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
Jun 22, 2011 Mel Bosworth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Beeman
May 16, 2012 Michael Beeman rated it it was amazing
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
This book ripped out my guts and broke my heart. In a good way.
Feb 19, 2014 Robertha rated it it was amazing
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
Superstition Review
Apr 16, 2015 Superstition Review rated it it was amazing
The story that is found in Us is one that is not new but the way that it is told is what makes this novel something amazing. A man wakes up to find that his wife isn’t breathing, and realizing she had a seizure in the middle of the night, the husband must come to terms with what his life will be like without her. Kimball uses sparse and simple sentences to tell an accurate tale of what one man’s grieving feels like. The clean prose found in the novel reads in such a way that makes the reader fee ...more
Jeff Bursey
Sep 14, 2013 Jeff Bursey rated it it was ok
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
Jun 12, 2011 xTx xTx rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 04, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
Our narrator is an old man. Exactly how old is never made clear; he can still drive but he’s also frail and sometimes gets confused. At first I actually thought the narrator had learning difficulties—and perhaps he does but that’s never made clear—because of the clipped and precise way he tells his story. This has put off some readers. For example Goodreads reviewer Mary writes: “The narrator felt too reduced to a six-year-old child in the style Kimball chose, which I realize helps to create vul ...more
Michael Kimball
Apr 12, 2011 Michael Kimball rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 22, 2011 Jamie Gaughran-Perez rated it it was amazing
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.
Lindsay Jacobs
Jan 03, 2015 Lindsay Jacobs rated it did not like it
I was told if I didn't like this book in the first ten pages I wasn't going to like it at all, but it reads so quickly that I got through 60 before I realized how much I hated it and then I figured I may as well finish it since it's so short. The purpose for the stripped writing style seems to be explained in the book, but that doesn't change the fact that it lacks description and artistic affect. Did Dick Cheney have an autobiography? I would probably find that book more irritating than this, b ...more
Melanie Page
Jul 13, 2011 Melanie Page rated it it was amazing
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
Erica Spangler
May 10, 2011 Erica Spangler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
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
May 11, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
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
Mar 12, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it
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
Peter Derk
Aug 17, 2011 Peter Derk rated it really liked it
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
Read 4/9/11 - 4/9/11
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book

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
Aug 26, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok
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
Jan 22, 2014 Ann Olson rated it liked it
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
Oct 16, 2012 Peter Choi rated it liked it

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
Oct 12, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
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
Christa Duggan

Depressing and lovely at the same time. A story about a man losing his wife. It was touching to read how this man experienced the loss of his wife. Just so sad.
Karen Williams
Mar 17, 2015 Karen Williams rated it it was amazing
I don't have anything to say about this book, other than that it is sad. I've only cried once before, reading a book, and that was when I read "The Giant's House". I look forward to reading more of Mr. Kimball's work.
Feb 04, 2014 Lena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a painful, beautiful little book. It felt like someone was pressing their thumb into my heart.
Brent Reichenberger
Dec 18, 2014 Brent Reichenberger rated it it was amazing
I am drained.
Peter Landau
Oct 22, 2011 Peter Landau rated it really liked it
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
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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 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 Will Smash You.
More about Michael Kimball...

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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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