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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

All Over, by Roy Kesey

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All Over, by Roy Kesey


All Over, by Roy Kesey


Publication Date: October 1, 2007
Paperback: 152 pages
ISBN: 978-0-979312-30-4
Trim: 8.4 x 5.8


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The debut story collection from Kesey includes nineteen stories previously published in literary journals such as Ninth Letter, McSweeney's, and The Kenyon Review. The story "Wait" was included in the Best American Short Stories 2007.


"A restlessly inventive collection, as the best story collections so often are - comic and tender, ironic and earnest, deadpan and passionate. A distinctive new voice, from a distinctive new press." 

Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl

"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 of which work in breath-taking harmony to keep illusion aloft." 

Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once

"Reading Roy Kesey is like being allowed to peep momentarily 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. Violinists play in the rain to keep swallows in flight. Strange, leaking packages tied up with string wait to be opened. In other words, Roy Kesey is a delight to read." 

Samantha Hunt, author of The Seas

"Roy Kesey's excellent All Over is intelligent, intense, often very funny and frequently, frankly, beautiful. Stories in this collection will imminently 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 Ray of the Star

"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 exhilirating collection—funny, harrowing, smart, odd, and inventive."

Chris Bachelder, author of U.S.! and Bear v. Shark

"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. His writing is original, fearless, strikingly funny, and clean—so clean—his words sharp enough to cut the eye."

Benjamin Percy, author of Refresh, Refresh

"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 Alive and Dead in Indiana

"All Over is the 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 teem 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 Be Mine


"[All Over] constantly demands attention and admiration. Line by line, this book ranks among the best post-postmodern fiction that I’ve read in years." —The Believer

"Here, Kesey walks the line between realism and allegory, offering situations we recognize, then turning them until we’re not sure what we’re seeing anymore. It’s a vivid effect that... gives All Over a sneaky power to make us think again about a world in which anything can happen, and often does." —The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A near-direct descendant of Samuel Beckett." Time Out Chicago

"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. Kesey's keen eye slices through pretence and artifice and although we may not always comprehend his writings on the surface, in our bones we know what he writes are truths." —The Short Review

"There is something for everyone here, at least for those who are willing to let fiction take them places they wouldn't ordinarily go."January Magazine

"Kesey deploys an arsenal of voices: regal, grandfather’s knee, loaded babble, tongue-in-cheek, curt, perverse, timeless and timely. Likewise, his scenarios are the stuff of dreams: a man responds to an ad by a company that claims to breed personal perfection, and after undergoing an unknowing treatment, quickly finds his bruises, weird hair and cruddy home transformed; a group of travelers stuck in an airport develop sects and come to blows, turning the terminal into a war room... Like Jim Shepard, Kesey maximizes the utility of whatever host body he chooses to enter." Rain Taxi

"Roy Kesey is a mad scientist of a fiction writer. The stories in his debut collection shapeshift from allegory and parable to all-dialogue and second-person experiments. Yet, as “alternative” rock lost its meaning a decade ago, contemporary “experimental” fiction often describes something mannered in a strange but oddly predictable way. Kesey... produces formally dazzling work that effortlessly and humbly tackles miscarriage, childbirth and stay-at-home fatherhood before taking a turn toward slipstream." The L Magazine

"Roy Kesey is as innovative with form and content as any writer working today. Naming names like John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Don Delillo, George Saunders, and Thomas Pynchon is helpful to readers who may be unfamiliar with his work, but from now on it will only require one name: Roy Kesey." NewPages

"While these stories initially appear to randomly skew toward Aimee Bender–style bizarreness, Kesey’s collection has an air of conviction that—by the end of the final story—will have the reader wondering why they ever questioned it... his bald inventiveness is enough to prod the reader into wanting more of his pervasive weirdness." Time Out New York

"All Over is one of the better books published in 2007." Literary Kicks


Roy Kesey's books include his debut novel Pacazo, the award-winning novella Nothing in the World, two historical guidebooks, and an upcoming story collection called Any Deadly Thing. His first collection, All Over, made The L Magazine's recent "Best Books of the Decade" list. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in more than one hundred magazines, including McSweeney's, Subtropics, Ninth Letter and The Kenyon Review. Among other awards, his work has won two Pushcart Prize special mentions and the 2008 Missouri Review Editors' Prize in Fiction, and has appeared in several anthologies including Best American Short Stories, The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology and New Sudden Fiction. He is the recipient of a 2010 prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.