We champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable.
Praise for We Were Flying to Chicago
- "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
- "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." — Publishers Weekly
- "At their strongest, the 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 Reviews
- "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 can confidently report that this is writing that's unmistakably alive and feral." — The Quivering Pen
- "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
- "Nine Rabbits is an intense study in the barely-controlled chaos of its protagonist, Manda, at two crucial stretches of her life."
— Fiction Writers Review
- "Zaharieva packs several genres into one, including but not limited to pastoral idyll, sexual coming-of-age story, and feminist memoir. Ultimately, she presents life in all its messiness and possibility, vivid enough for the reader to almost taste." — Publishers Weekly
- "I know of few books that explore the workings of psychological and cultural legacies as fearlessly... The boldness of 'Nine Rabbits' is expressed in its narrative virtuosity as well, for it blends memoir, recipes, alternative endings, references to popular Western culture, koans, dreams, diary entries and verse."
— Rob Neufeld, The Asheville Citizen-Times
- "Intimate and conversational, this is a must-read!" — The Daily Meal
- "Lyrical and magical ... Filled with nostalgia, [the novel's] recipes beg to be made. Eccentric instructions and all." — Pop-Break
- "One moment there is past-tense prose and the next we meet the startling present in poetry, stream-of-consciousness, and the most well-timed recipes ever to grace a novel. Zaharieva’s prose reads like a reverie and translator Angela Rodel maintains authenticity with her mastery of slang equivalents, partly responsible for the total lack of boundaries between page and reader. We are under the waves with Manda, from beginning to end, unable to separate ourselves from her clear, brutal vision of the 'Great Experiment' of her life."
— Curbside Splendor
- "Engaging, with a decidedly feminist tone, this enlightening journey will inspire anyone dealing with trauma suffered within a domestic or a religious sphere" — ForeWord Reviews
- "Credit should be given to Angela Rodel’s translation, which succeeds in conveying the vibrancy and boldness of Zaharieva’s language and writing style." — W!ldrooster
- "Nine Rabbits is a heady mixture of genres and styles which transcends the purely literary and approaches a new form of expression. Traditional European writing, in comparison with this thoroughly Balkan work, appears more than a little tired and derivative. Nine Rabbits brings with it a powerful sense of the genuinely mysterious and exotic as the narrator interweaves her experience of a wide range of different cultures, traditions and assumptions." — Bookoxygen
- "Nine Rabbits is so far showing itself a Michelin five star, luridly synesthetic all-round box-ticker. Opening it is itself like falling down a rabbit-hole, into a dystopian wonderland of alternately passionate, and disinterested, brutality, told, initially, with the almost magical unconcern of a child’s viewpoint, looking back with minimal reinterpretation but a steadily held lens." — Anastasia Kashian, HalfbakedLevis
- "This illustrated novel about growing up poor near the swamps of South Florida has a lurid vibrancy. Its prose is lit from below, like a vaguely scummy in-ground swimming pool, and the author’s photographs — of ranch houses, randy adolescents, alligators, drug paraphernalia, fishing tackle, convenience stores — are what you might get if you combined William Eggleston’s talents with Terry Richardson’s."
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
- "We finish And Every Day Was Overcast in a delirious state of disassociation, not unlike the kids whose lives it seeks to evoke. This, of course, is why we turn to books — or one reason, anyway — to see the world as we have not before. The shabby suburbs of And Every Day Was Overcast may not be unknown to us, but "Kwiatkowski’s ruthless excavation give us a new language by which we hear stories that might otherwise go unheard."
—David L. Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
- "Kwiatkowski's language is harsh and direct, and his stories are compelling in their sadness and brutality. . . the photographs serve to confirm the reality of these stories. We look at them and can see the people and landscape Kwiatkowski describes. Whether this means these stories are largely autobiographical, or are simply of a piece with the author's experience, matters little, and is part of what grips us. Kwiatkowski has produced an illustrated novel that shows what the form can do."
—Photo District News
- "Disposable-shot photos and alluringly honest prose narrate a romanticized version of the “lost youth,” filled with vignettes of sex, hallucinogenics, surface encounters, and overall debauchery and delinquency. With aesthetic conviction comparable to that of Harmony Korine, this alternative novel is sure to have you nostalgic and reaching for the cheapest brand of beer you ever got your teenage hands on."
—Nylon Guys October Issue
- "That is the strange, unsettling success of this book. Kwiatkowski is such a good writer and editor that we allow him to charm us, despite the possibility that the author may be as unreliable a narrator as the protagonist, because words and pictures are both in the service of such a seductive hallucination. The work presents an affecting and introspective narrative experience…If you want to know where photography is headed these days, this book provides one interesting answer: Paul Kwiatkowski has made a place inside his head for you and this book will take you there."
- "The form of Kwiatkowski’s terrific coming-of-age novel, set in the 1990s, is offbeat and provocative. Short chapters, long on imagery and adolescent attitude, nestle between pages of color photographs. What’s exciting is how well these components complement one another... Vibrant and original."
- "And Every Day Was Overcast [is] unlike any book I've ever read. [It's] a mix of this clean, spare, unaffected prose about growing up near the swamps of South Florida – plus these incredible photos [Paul has] taken of the area. …A completely original and clearheaded voice."
- “I can count on my fingers the number of great books that seamlessly mix photographs and literary text in a compelling way. Paul Kwiatkowski’s And Every Day Was Overcast not only achieves this rare feat, he does so with an artistry that makes the achievement nearly invisible. As compelling as the best movies or graphic novels, And Every Day Was Overcast is a landmark in visual storytelling."
- "Paul Kwiatkowski stitches together an ugly-beautiful fabric of volatile America, threaded with gators and bad acid trips, swampy living and early sexual encounters. There's hardly anything more American than this ode to coming of age in South Florida. A tour de force in the form of battered scrapbook memories."
—Doug Rickard, A New American Picture
- "Kwiatkowski could have published these photos as an art book – they’re astoundingly fresh, almost electrifying – but chose instead to pair them with this short coming-of-age tale. . . It’s an overt rejection of the already-blurry lines between the real and the artificial, between reality and fantasyland. . . And Kwiatkowski doesn’t disappoint as a Baudelaire of the swamps"
—Jessica Bryce Young, Orlando Weekly
- Excerpted in the October 2013 issue of Vice magazine
- "Paul Kwiatkowski’s new gritty and dark coming-of-age novel evokes a rave gone wrong in the '90s. And Every Day was Overcast succeeds in portraying teenage toxicity in South Florida in the wors[t] yet most vibrant way. The volatile narrative is carefully nestled between ugly-beautiful scrapbook photos that seamlessly construct a unique type of visual storytelling…this delinquent memoir has it all."
—Creative Loafing Tampa
- "Beautiful photographs which seem inspired by Larry Clark, and blends visual fact and visual fiction with the story of a young man growing up…a graphic novel in photographs…physically a beautiful book"
—Carolyn Kellogg, KCRW's "Which Way, LA?" Los Angeles Public Radio
- "Paul Kwiatkowski [is] a narrative-driven photographer whose first book, And Every Day was Overcast, conveys the eerie upbringing south Florida imparts on its residents…his prose weaves a fictionalized tale of boyhood in a strange land."
- "And Every Day was Overcast is a novel about teenhood in South Florida, where Kwiatkowski grew up. His photos, which make up the bulk of the book, drive singular, clear prose"
- "This is a work of fiction that just happens to challenge the relationship we have to text, images, and the truth... This is "a book for contemporary art lovers and those unafraid to travel back in time and see the ’90s — and high school — without the gloss of memory."
—Eastern Iowa Gazette
- "It’s worth exploring the iPad deluxe edition... Despite their genesis as Polaroids, ancient Kodak snaps, or tired prints from crappy disposables, the images seem more at home there, almost alive; the glow-flicker of a pixel display suits not only the photos, but also the TV-drenched narrative. Along with the text and photos, the iPad edition boasts a soundtrack (a mix of field recordings and ambient noise that is utterly familiar to any Southern suburbia-dweller, yet unsettlingly affecting) and a trove of anonymous interviews that are pure gold: funny, honest reminiscences of growing up in South Florida." Jessica Bryce Young, Orlando Weekly
- "Despite the serious themes, the novel is largely comic and in many ways falls into the same genre of satirical anti-war novels that includes The Good Soldier by Jaroslav Hasek and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Perisic constructs a series of long and entertaining scenes full of quirky dialogue and rhythmic interior monologue." —The Times Literary Supplement
- "Robert Perisic depicts, with acerbic wit, a class of urban elites who are trying to reconcile their nineties rebellion with the reality of present-day Croatia. . . . The characters' snide remarks could easily sound cynical but the novel has a levity informed by the sense of social fluidity that comes with democracy." —The New Yorker
- "This jivey—and I should say x-rated—story stays with us" — Alan Cheuse, "All Things Considered" NPR
- "Perisic’s smoothly told and unfailingly engaging story takes off swiftly and never falters. Toni’s is a tragic-comic tale enriched by layers of meditation on the broad and lasting effects of war, and the peculiarities of contemporary media . . . How deeply satisfying it is to hear Perisic’s wry voice take a different angle, and tell a different story."— ZYZZYVA
- "...terrifically witty and original... in addition to being a delightfully acerbic primer on a literarily underrepresented part of Europe, Our Man in Iraq may well prove to be one of those rare cases where something is actually gained in translation."—The Toronto Star
- "Given the uncountable billions of words they have dedicated to the war in Iraq, it might be easy for Americans to think of it as belonging solely to them. Even its possession by the Iraqis can feel tenuous at times. So it is a refreshing reminder of the new global village to read a novel like Robert Perisic’s “Our Man in Iraq,” which studies the fighting in Baghdad from the distant shores of Croatia." —The Boston Globe
- "Robert Perisic is a light bright with intelligence and twinkling with irony, flashing us the news that postwar Croatia not only endures but matters." — Jonathan Franzen
- One of The Millions "Most Anticipated Books of 2013"
- "A must-read... brilliantly captures modern-day Zagreb." —The Guardian
- "What’s most compelling about Perisic’s novel are the relentlessly insightful one-liners, offering poignant commentary on the unsettled day-to-day of a society trying to find its footing after devastating violence and in the throes of nascent capitalism... this smart, cutting book powerfully illustrates the horrible hangover of war." — Publisher's Weekly
- "With formidable insight, élan and a noir-ish relish of backstreet manoeuvres, Perišic asks how a nation can move on after conflict, how citizens can overcome the feeling that 'Whoever survived all that Balkan shit, whoever breathed the fumes of that hell, had to feel defeat.'" — Prospect Magazine
- "It is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking story, which, while recalling some of the comic greats that have gone before, add its own brave, quirky and refreshing perspective to the tradition. An unexpected delight." — A Year of Reading the World
- The New York Times Book Review: "Writing like this hoists “Maverick Jetpants in the City of Quality” above the level of most first novels and confirms — along with the ending’s faint echo of that greatest of coming-of-age narratives, “Huckleberry Finn” — that Bill Peters belongs in the ranks of serious literary artists."
- The Coffin Factory: "Peters proves himself adept at wordplay through the wildly inventive language of the characters."
- Literate Man: "It is a novel that speaks to our common experience in coming of age and our common fears of being left behind by those closest to us. ... Maverick Jetpants in the City of Quality announces the arrival of a powerful and innovative young voice in American fiction."
- Publishers Weekly: "The novel that's going to put Rochester on the map...by turns funny and moving, this debut richly captures life in a decaying American city..."
- LAReview: "One of the most inventive novels published this year."
- ForeWord Winter 2013: "Maverick is both funny and poignant, tragic and trite: its somewhat alien language mimics both the bewildering landscape of adulthood and the cultural wasteland of a declining Rochester [...] With all the elements of the best coming-of-age novels, Maverick offers a voice and a story that could connect with someone of just about any age, as long as they have the appreciation for nimble, far out and witty repartee."
- Bookslut: "Peters has done something just this side of insane with this book; he's created a character that speaks in a voice everyone will recognize, even while half the words he says allude to things none of us were part of."
- The Springfield Republican: "The core characters of Maverick Jetpants -- the kinds of guys for whom Buffalo Bills team sweatpants constitute formal wear, and whose diets consist mostly of french fries and coffee at chain restaurants -- are a sort of post-industrial everyman."
- The Unexcused: "Maverick Jetpants ... [is] one of the most innovative books written in years. It’s incredible."
- Huffington Post: "My face may no longer be classically symmetrical, but I still have the feeling of beauty. The feeling of beauty has nothing to do with perfection. It is about self-respect. It is about caring for oneself. I try to be a little less careless now. Being careless never felt right."
- The Daily Mail: "Louise Krug, who was left with a crossed eye, partially-paralysed face and dragging foot after the incident, has penned the new book Louise: Amended. It is a story that explores how a dramatic change in the Kansas teacher's physical appearance sparked her positive new outlook on life."
- The Guardian: "I started to realise that even though it often doesn't show on the outside, we all have experiences in our lives that damage us and threaten to hold us back. Mine just happen to be visible."
- Tin House Blog: “I decided to go with my gut and stick to memoir. I’m very lucky that Deb Olin Unferth ran into my editor Elizabeth Koch at a party and told her about my manuscript. Elizabeth read it, saw something in it, and has worked so generously with me helping shape the book.”
- Kansas City Star: "Krug, who is 29 now — and married with a new baby — didn’t consult her ex-boyfriend about his feelings at the time. But if the adoption of his voice seems unfair at first, it grows apparent that Krug isn’t taking aim at Claude or anyone else. Louise is the target."
- Book Pleasures: "The narrative is skillfully written, it hovers disjointedly between the active and passive voices, so we get to live snapshots of moments in time. (...) This form of writing makes the book an easy as well as a compulsive read, the reader’s interest is held till the end."
- The Wichita Eagle: “The book switches between first-person narration by Krug about the events, and third-person narration about what she imagines others are feeling and doing in relation to her. The shifts are somewhat jarring, but the technique lets readers inside the minds of others dealing with the situation.”
- Sacramento Bee: “In this memoir, the author recounts the life-threatening brain trauma that severely disabled her at age 22. Her fight for recovery is inspirational. Today, Krug is a wife, mother, teacher and Ph.D. candidate.”
- Topeka Capital Journal: “It’s funny, too. There’s a lot of humor in there. I think anyone that reads it, it will bring back their college days and all of the trials and stupid mistakes you make. I was relieved that this didn’t set her back long-term.”
- The Atlantic: “Utterly charming and a formidable feat of multi-sensory deliciousness, The Recipe Project is the kind of whimsical cross-pollination of disciplines that speaks to [The Atlantic’s] ethos of indiscriminate creative curiosity.”
- Esquire: “The recipes function as a sort of found poetry, if you will, a jumping-off point for a consideration of how sound relates to flavor.”
- Wired.com: “The Recipe Project [is] a true feast for cuisine geeks. It’s a project worthy of the new breed of food pornographers, who have transformed cooking programming into an indulgent pleasure.”
- Epicurious: “Between the covers, you'll find recipes, prose pieces, chef interviews, and yes, music. Pore through the pages and you'll be rewarded with some lovely food writing, delicious food, and toe-tapping tunes. It's a multi-sensory feast.”
- Food Network Magazine: “Food Network stars Aaron Sanchez and Michael Symon, among others, handed over their favorite recipes to the band One Ring Zero so they could turn them into catchy tunes. “I would wake up in the middle of the night with Mario Batali’s spaghetti song running through my head,” says bandleader Michael Hearst.”
- Oprah’s Food Newsletter: “John Besh, the New Orleans chef, put it best in the video by Time.com as he sang along to his own recipe for shrimp remoulade, "Why didn't I think of this?"
- Time: “Thanks to a new book and CD called The Recipe Project the food and music words are not only colliding but collaborating. The creative minds behind this fusion are the members of the band One Ring Zero. (...) And the end goal of all of this? Make recipes and food more accessible and fun.”
- Bon Appetit: “By stylistically channeling the Beastie Boys and Bach to Bowie and Belly (with the latter's Tanya Donelly lending vocals on a track), the band's catchy recipe adaptations make for an engaging listen.”
- Associated Press: “Food-loving rockers can get the best of both worlds in "The Recipe Project" (Black Balloon Publishing, 2011), a collection of recipes by top chefs set to music. Rock out with Mario Batali's spaghetti with Sweet 100 Tomatoes or Michael Symon's octopus salad with Black-Eyed Peas. Comes with the CD, of course.”
- Lucky Magazine Online: “How can I explain? One Ring Zero– one of those quirky Skinny White Guy bands that I say I don’t like and then deeply fixate on– has made songs out of recipes. They have taken cooking instructions from famous chefs and set them to music. Word for word. Measurements. Ingredients. Utensils. Everything.”
- CNN Money: “Koch and her team created the book with the recipes in print and informative essays from noteworthy food writers. Koch believes that her willingness "to fly against the norm" helps to "break new ground in this type of publishing and to really set ourselves apart." As proof, this holiday season, the company has sold thousands of units to a major book retailer.”
- Edible Brooklyn: “If the Recipe Project is like no cookbook you’ve ever seen, that’s because it’s primarily intended to be heard. Its recipes do come in printed form, but that’s just the appetizer. The main course is a CD of 12 recipes set to song, and it’s a feast for the ears.”
- Brainpickings.org: “The book also comes with a delightful free iPhone app that lets you enter up to 5 ingredients you have on hand and dishes out a delicious, speedy singable recipe to make with” them.
- Village Voice Blog: “Having trouble remembering just what goes into Chris Cosentino's recipe for Brains and Eggs? Try setting it to music. That's what the folks behind The Recipe Project did. It's a cookbook that comes with a CD, with recipes from famous chefs set to music. And now, it's also an app that you can download for free from the iTunes store.”
- The Atlantic: “The beautifully illustrated recipes come from a roster of famous chefs -- including Mario Batali, John Besh, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, and Andrea Reusing -- contextualized amidst chef interviews and essays by acclaimed food writers like Melissa Clark and J. Dixon, pondering such complexities as the culinary connotations of The Beatles' White Album and what moussaka has to do with Metallica.”
- Toque: “What an odd little app! Click on the Listen button at the bottom of the screen and a record pops up, a needle slides over and the music by One Ring Zero begins to play. Melodic instructions of David Chang’s crab claw recipe begins to pump out of the speakers while the written instructions appear above the spinning record. It’s quirky, and I have to admit a little catchy after listening to it a few times.”
- National Public Radio’s “The Splendid Table”: fed to nearly 300 stations.
- NY1 “Edible Segment:”
- Tampa Tribune Podcast
- Scallywag & Vagabond: “If you love food, it’s likely you also love to drink, travel and listen to music too. Well, on Tuesday evening ‘super-music-nerd-foodies’ gathered in the basement of the Woolworth Building, otherwise known as The Wooly for the highly anticipated launch of The Recipe Project, a paperback gem brought to us by Black Balloon Publishing.”
- Brooklyn Based: The band One Ring Zero has put out the first ever album/book combo of recipes. The band has recruited some of their favorite chefs – Mario Batali, David Chang, Mark Kurlansky, etc. – to write lyrics which double as recipes. The CD of hunger-inducing tracks comes complete with a 116 pg. hardcover book. On November 3rd, catch the release party at Brooklyn Kitchen, where you can taste a number of the recipes and sip on beers provided by Brooklyn Brewery.
- Serious Eats: “Celebrate the release of the first album/cookbook ever by One Ring Zero. Lyrics include recipes from chefs like Mario Batali and Mark Kurlansky. Sample different recipes from the album, listen to a live performance by One Ring Zero, and receive a signed copy of the album at this event!”