Tag: Kimball

Monthly Review – January 2013

Posted January 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards both The Shadow of the Wind and the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read twenty books, a feat I’m not sure how I managed, but I’ve had so much fun doing so. Nine of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; the highly talked about Wool by Hugh Howey, the bittersweet Big Ray by Michael Kimball and the existential The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. But the one I really thought deserves high praise is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a novel of great beauty, decorum and love lost. I haven’t reviewed these books yet but keep an eye out, they will come. So what have you been reading this month?

Monthly Reading

  • Big Ray by Michael Kimball
  • Black Vodka: Ten Stories by Deborah Levy
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  • Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman
  • In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Revenge: Stories by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  • The Dark Winter by David Mark
  • The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
  • The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  • The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Wool by Hugh Howey

Big Ray by Michael Kimball

Posted January 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Big Ray by Michael KimballTitle: Big Ray (Goodreads)
Author: Michael Kimball
Published: Bloomsbury Circus, 2013
Pages: 192
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

A middle aged man is coming to terms with his father’s death and in fact his life. Big Ray is not a nice man; his size and his temper define him. So when he dies, Daniel is mostly relived but it is still the death of his father. “For most of my life I have been afraid of my father. After he died, I was afraid to be a person without a father, but I also felt relieved he was dead. Everything about my father seem complicated like that.”

Big Ray is Daniel’s attempts to recount his father’s life, each paragraph is a single thought that slowly piece together a sense of who Big Ray was; at least in the eyes of his son. This narrative style works really well, you experience the emotions Daniel has and it really drives the story along with the mystery and sometimes randomness of his thoughts.

This is a brutal novel.  Daniel ultimately hates his father; from the abuse as a child to trying to understand him as an adult. You can see the pain and hurt come through in the narrative, but there is still a tenderness and sadness at the loss of his father.  All relationships are not as they seem; there are the unusual and even unsettling truths of Big Ray but then you have the little glimpses of what might be considered love towards his father.

I read this book in one sitting, not something I normally do. From the very start I was hooked, the narrative style just has nice balance between tenderness and brutality, beauty and mystery. I’m a little concerned for author Michael Kimball because that pain and anger Daniel had towards his father felt way too real. Highly emotional and disturbing; the internal conflict of a dysfunctional and abusive relationship was captured really well in this novel.