In this striking debut collection, characters find unexpected moments of profound insight while navigating daily life.
"Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an 'old' talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him."—Booklist, starred review
"Sharply observed."—Toronto Star
"The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure–handed grasp of craft."—Publishers Weekly
In this striking debut collection, characters find unexpected moments of profound insight while navigating the monotony of daily life. Here we find a man who drives to the wrong mountain, a hubcap cleaner who moonlights as a karaoke star, and a deliveryman whose urgent letters have no willing recipient. While lulled by the deceptively simple rhythm of the ordinary, Kevin Clouther offers the instant before momentous change—the view over the cliff, the intake of breath before a decision, a glimpse of stark vulnerability, of faith and hope.
About the Author
Kevin Clouther was born in Boston and grew up on Cape Cod and in South Florida. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he completed his thesis under Marilynne Robinson and won the Richard Yates Fiction Award for best short story. He has worked at The Iowa Review, Meridian and The Virginia Literary Review, where he served as Fiction Editor. He teaches creative writing at Stony Brook University, where he coordinates the Program in Writing Reading Series, and John Hopkins. He has previously taught at Bridgewater College in Virginia, the University of Michigan–Dearborn, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He lives in Floral Park, New York with his wife and son.
"Kevin Clouther’s collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing."—BookRiot, Included in "The Great 2014 Short Fiction Round–Up" by David Abrams
“Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an 'old' talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him.”—Booklist, starred
"Sharply observed."—Toronto Star
"Kevin Clouther's collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing. . .I can confidently report that this is writing that's unmistakably alive and feral.. . .Dare I say that I hear Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway echoing in my head?"—David Abrams, The Quivering Pen
"The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure–handed grasp of craft. The first and last stories are the best. In the former, the title story, deft and subtle shifts of perspective among a group of young women lead to a well–earned concluding insight. Better still is the emotionally complex final selection, “Puritan Hotel, Barnstable,” about two brothers, Michael and Connor, dealing with Connor’s cancer treatment."—Publishers Weekly
"Kevin Clouther's collection of wry, funny, big–hearted stories is utterly satisfying and unexpected, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had."—Rebecca Johns
“Kevin Clouther’s remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author’s expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther’s beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book—you’ll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror. “—Bret Anthony Johnston
“[These] stories develop an intimate voice and the reader can feel characters’ hopes and despair. The title story is a particular standout. A group of airplane passengers are stuck on a layover; the story is told from their collective perspective ("For no good reason, we were flying to Chicago," it begins). The first–person plural point of view is inviting and fresh.”—Kirkus