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Big Ray

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Big Ray's temper and obesity define him. When Big Ray dies, his son feels mostly relief, dismissing his other emotions. Yet years later, the adult son must reckon with the outsized presence of his father's memory. This stunning novel, narrated in more 500 brief entries, moves between past and present, between his father's death and his life, between an abusive childhood and an adult understanding. Shot through with humor and insight that will resonate with anyone who has experienced a complicated parental relationship, Big Ray is a staggering family story-at once brutal and tender, sickening and beautiful.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 23, 2012 – Kimball s novel starts with death, but what s really sad is the life the dead man Big Ray, the narrator s father lived. Unhappy child of unhappy parents, Ray becomes an abuser who eats himself to 500 pounds. His wife gone, children grown, Ray s body is found only when his apartment manager comes looking for the rent; as his son says, I m glad my father didn t die at the beginning of the month. I don t know how long it would have been before somebody found him. This stark depiction of the wages of isolation is typical of the book, which Kimball (Us) tells in 500 brief snippets that refuse to add sentiment or excuse to the difficult facts the narrator feels compelled to relate. Facts is a funny word here, as is compelled but the book reads like a memoir, the entirely believable product of a son grappling with the death and life of his father. The narrator talks frankly of his estrangement and efforts to connect, the abuse he suffered and his mixed feelings; the obituary, he notes, listed those who preceded Ray in death and those who survived him. I m one of the people who survived, says Big Ray s son. Kimball shows the truth of this, but also its sad, shifting complexity.

Customer Reviews

Big Ray

Just finished this book... I'm left feeling sad and somewhat disturbed. The more revealing "entries" are told with such dispassion, that one gets the sense that this is not, in fact, a work of fiction. Rather, it seems to be small bursts of cathartic writing, meant more to empty the author's mind of horrific childhood memories. Whilst written intelligently, with small bits of softened humour, beware of finishing this work and being left with a sense of despair. Not a light-hearted Sunday afternoon read.

Big Ray
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Sep 04, 2012
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 192 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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