Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Us

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 to deal with -whether the death of a beloved pet, grandparent, close friend, perhaps even a parent. In some cases, those we lost were taken from us quickly, unexpectedly. In others, we had time to make our peace and come to terms with their inevitable passing. In no case has it ever been easy.

Us strips this husband's experience with death down into 7 parts, which I find to be similar to some of the phases of grief - Denial: the refusal to believe his wife could die. Bargaining: the belief that his actions and thoughts can exert a certain control over her ability to remain alive. Acceptance: soaking up what time they have left together. Depression: the inability to change out of his funeral clothes or wash her smell off of her dirty laundry, and the sad act of dressing up a lamp in his wife's clothing.

If nothing else, Us will force you to remember to appreciate the people you love, because you never know when you might wake up to find them no longer there.

Here is an excerpt from the novel, on which the book trailer below is based on:

How I Danced With the Floor Lamp

I pulled one of my wife's dresses off a hanger in her closet and pulled it down over the length of a floor lamp. I pulled on a hat of hers down over the lampshade. I glued a pair or her shoes down onto the base of the floor lamp and waited for the glue to dry. I plugged the floor lamp into an outlet in the living room, turned the floor lamp on, and her head lit up.

The dress was floor length and it had long sleeves. I held onto the cuff of one long sleeve of her dress with my palm and fingers and tucked the cuff of the other long sleeve into my waistband at the small of my back. I placed my other hand behind the long stand of the floor lamp just above where the base of her spine would have been if the floor lamp were my wife.

I waited for the music to start playing in my head. I pulled the floor lamp up against my body and felt the heat form the light on my dace. I tipped the floor lamp back with my one arm and leaned over with her. I stood back up and spin the floor lamp away from me along the edge of its round base and along the length of my arm and the long sleeve of her dress. The base of the floor lamp made a scraping noise against the hardwood floor and so did my shoes.

I could see myself dancing with her on the living room walls. I could see the shadows of us dancing ont he walls all the way around the living room.

Many thanks to Michael Kimball and his publishing company, Tyrant Books, for making this book available for review. Us will release on May 10th, 2011.

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