Reviews of WWFTC

We Were Flying to Chicago

Booklist reviewed and STARRED Kevin's collection: 
Booklist is very important because a great many libraries order their books based on Booklist's reviews. "Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an 'old' talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him. These 10 stories reveal Clouther’s perfectly attuned ear for the clichés, rhythms, and timid vocabulary of ordinary folk; on the other hand, he has great empathy for what these people may not be able to articulate but know in their hearts." — Brad Hooper

Star Tribune review, July 5, 2014:
"Now living in New York, Clouther spent his youth in New England and south Florida, and he’s a product of the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He draws upon this history for the settings of his stories and, when at his best, creates memorable characters peculiar to each place." - Nick Healy

The Airship's "Better Than Summer Camp: 10 Books to Help You Relive Your Childhood Summers" June 4, 2014:
If the part of summer vacation you miss the most is traveling, read We Were Flying to Chicago by Kevin Clouther. When it comes to vacations, the process of getting there can be just as much fun as arriving, especially when you’re a kid. If you’re in a car, you get to play the license plate game (humble brag, but I once spotted three Canadian license plates on the same road trip), and if you’re traveling via airplane, you get to look down at the clouds, which, come on, is actually pretty awesome. The stories in Clouther’s short story collection largely center around traveling and are sure to give you flashbacks of summer trips.

Bookriot's "Great 2014 Short Fiction Round-up," May 27, 2014: 
"Kevin Clouther’s collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing. I’ve sampled paragraphs from several of the stories in this book... and I can confidently report that this is writing that’s unmistakably alive and feral."  - David Abrams review, May 26, 2914:
"I’ve been dipping in and out of the stories in Kevin Clouther’s debut collection, We Were Flying to Chicago, over this long weekend, and they’re fantastic." - Ron Hogan

Tinhouse review, May 23, 2014:
Another favorite was a Kevin Clouther story from his collection We Were Flying to Chicago, on Black Balloon’s blog, The Airship. The story, “On the Highway Near Fairfield, Connecticut,” is a strange, moving (and stopping) story that superimposes one moment over another unexpectedly. It’s hard to explain, even to myself, but that it can be so inexplicable and stay so grounded in the mundane is part of its odd charm."- Thomas Ross (Editorial Assistant)

The University of Virginia Magazine, Summer 2014: 
"In this debut book of short stories, characters across New England, South Florida and the Midwest wrestle with small, everyday decisions that come to define who they are. Clouther creates conflict through his characters’ competing desires."

LitReactor's Bookshots, May 13, 2014:
"There is a restlessness that suffuses these ten stories, whether the characters are stuck in dead-end jobs, on long road trips, or in sterile hotel rooms. However, what keeps the narratives in We Were Flying to Chicago moving is the characters’ search for meaning in their own lives, and their recognition of sublime moments hidden within the mundane... The characters, their conflicts, and the way they resolve them or don't will linger long after they’ve been read." -Naturi Thomas-Millard

Toronto Star, May 2, 2014:
"Clouther, like many purveyors of the short-fiction form, attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he learned to write sharply observed stories..." - Sarah Murdoch

The Quivering Pen, April 10, 2014:
"I'm attracted to Clouther's writing by its blunt, simple style... Dare I say that I hear Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway echoing in my head?"
—David Abrams, author of Fobbit

Publishers Weekly, April 2014:
"The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure-handed grasp of craft. The first and last stories are the best. In the former, the title story, deft and subtle shifts of perspective among a group of young women lead to a well-earned concluding insight. Better still is the emotionally complex final selection, 'Puritan Hotel, Barnstable,' about two brothers, Michael and Connor, dealing with Connor’s cancer treatment."

More Reviews:
"In plotting out a story, he is not only creative in how best to generate the condensed dramatic tension necessary in a short story but also intuitive in knowing when and how much to reveal about a person or happening while still ensuring that this power-in-concentration is maintained. “Charleston for Breakfast,” about a young man who blows off his job to take a ride with his girlfriend, is a heartfelt, intelligent presentation of Clouther’s aptitude for knowing just how far to go into a story so that reader interest is sustained while still adhering to limited elaboration. We eagerly await his next collection." — Brad Hooper, Booklist

"Kevin Clouther's collection of wry, funny, big-hearted stories is utterly satisfying and unexpected, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had."
Rebecca Johns, author of The Countess

"Kevin Clouther's remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author's expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther's beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you've finished the book--you'll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror. "
Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories

“[These] stories develop an intimate voice and the reader can feel characters’ hopes and despair. The title story is a particular standout. A group of airplane passengers are stuck on a layover; the story is told from their collective perspective ("For no good reason, we were flying to Chicago," it begins). The first-person plural point of view is inviting and fresh.”—Kirkus

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