All Over


"The birds are catching fire again. I keep shouting up to them, Fly lower, fly lower! They never listen. They’re dropping all around us now, and we run for the nearest building, this big squat red thing, a county office of some kind, maybe something to do with zoning? But the door is locked and no one comes no matter how loud we knock so we cover our heads and run across the street to this cheesy trattoria-type thing and huddle there under the awning, or what should be an awning, red-and-white striped, but isn’t—there’s nothing left but shreds after the big birdstorm last week."


"A restlessly inventive collection, as the best story collections so often are—comic and tender, ironic and earnest, deadpan and passionate."
Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl and The Ugliest House in the World
"For those keen to know the next generation of the American short story, consider All Over, which features the loopy paranoia of Don DeLillo, the po-mo-mo whimsy of Donald Barthelme, the spooky learnedness of Thomas Pynchon, the high-minded literary sleight-of-hand of Robert Coover and John Barth, and the secret geek speak of George Saunders. Add a touch of the Brothers Grimm, Jules Verne, and the Looney Tunes, and you've got a book of a million moving parts, all working in breathtaking harmony to keep illusion aloft."
Lee K. Abbott, author of six books including All Things, All at Once: Collected Stories
"These stories by Roy Kesey, in the way they brilliantly blend humor and pathos, remind me of coins tossed in the air, turning over and over, one side cast in light, the other in darkness."
Benjamin Percy, author of The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh
"Reading Roy Kesey is like being allowed to peep through a mysterious hole in the wall into a hidden universe that is very much like ours only slightly brighter, slightly sadder, certainly no less odd."
Samantha Hunt, author of The Seas and The Invention of Everything Else
"In All Over, Roy Kesey’s postmodern parables are stunning mash-ups of style, content, characters. The book is a narrative train wreck that keeps happening of arcane jumbled juxtaposed graffitied rolling stock crashing into horribly hilarious verbal clown car kinetic sculpture."
Michael Martone, author of fourteen books including Racing in Place
"Roy Kesey manifests his keen sense of human emotion not only in the sensual details of his fictions, but in their essential structures and narrative strategies. To say these fictions have breadth and depth is too shallow. These are three-dimensional affecting experiences wrought from prose."
Cris Mazza, author of thirteen books including Waterbaby and Dog People
"Roy Kesey's All Over is intelligent, intense, often very funny and frequently, frankly, beautiful. Stories in this collection will appear in slightly different form in the deepest, darkest corners of your mind, where they will burn very, very brightly, for hours."
Laird Hunt, author of four books including The Impossibly and Indiana, Indiana
"All Over is the strangest, best collection of stories you will read this year. With a seamless blend of lyricism and minimalism, Roy Kesey travels all over the terrain of the psyche, the human condition, the relationships we have and fail to have. These stories team with insights, little horrors, moments of sweet verity, and surreal surprise. The characters are persuasive, and the storytelling is both hallucinatory and familiar. This is a new voice you must hear."
Laura Kasischke, author of twelve books including Feathered and Be Mine
"Roy Kesey tempers his prodigious imagination with fine syntactic control, so that his stories—like Donald Barthelme's—feel simultaneously free-wheeling and precise. All Over is an exhilarating collection—funny, harrowing, smart, odd, and inventive."
Chris Bachelder, Author of U.S.! and Bear v. Shark


"Roy Kesey writes with the soul of a ventriloquist."
David Ulin
The Los Angeles Times
"Line by line, this book ranks among the best post-postmodern fiction that I’ve read in years."
Justin Taylor
The Believer
"All Over is sharp as cheddar and as invigorating as plunging your head into a bucket of ice water. Kesey is on to something great here—the kind of fiction that bends our minds like paper clips."
David Abrams
January Magazine
"The stories in this collection range from semi-traditional to fiercely experimental, from taut to discursive, from sobering to book-droppingly funny. As a whole, this book presents Kesey as an exceptionally diverse and talented storyteller."
Seth Fried
Mid-American Review
"A near-direct descendant of Samuel Beckett."
Jonathan Messinger
Time Out Chicago
"Kesey is a shapeshifter, a voice-imitator, a puppet master... He is Barthelmean in his ability to make something dense or highbrow come off as funny or gamesmanlike, which is high praise. All Over is, in the book’s own words, “a collage-within-a-collage,” much like a set of Russian dolls—each one layered within the others, each single incarnation alive and new."
Blake Butler
Rain Taxi
"Roy Kesey is a mad scientist of a fiction writer (who) produces formally dazzling work."
T.K. Dalton
The L Magazine
"This is an astonishing debut collection by a writer who deftly uses language, rendering it both spare and rich, sentences and paragraphs reverberating long after the book has been put down."
Tania Hershman
The Short Review
"Roy Kesey is as innovative with form and content as any writer working today."
Josh Maday
New Pages
"Roy Kesey's short story collection All Over is delicious."
Callie Miller
"Kesey's a true original."
Jeff VanderMeer
"The multi-vocal braiding of All Over, when it hooks together format and fervor, strikes me as entirely natural to the talent behind it. (...I)f I were to conclude by saying that All Over seems the closest American writing has yet come to a replication of Donald Barthelme, a project that’s occupied the mad scientists of our literature for a couple of decades now, that very description seems to diminish the accomplishment of Roy Kesey."
John Domini
American Book Review