Montana Book Award Honor Book!
“Four characters, three misguided romances, all forged from the madness of love, all made believable in Canty’s skilled hands. In alternating sections, Everything examines these relationships as they bud, blossom and then fail to progress as the characters might have hoped. There is a lot of booze and heartbreak in the book, yet it is full of optimism and humanity. . . . With Everything, Canty has found a style all his own, and it casts a hypnotic spell. There are still the short, staccato sentences, but there are also longer passages that soar with a new confidence and lyricism. . . . Unlike the endings to much of Canty’s previous work, the last pages are filled with hope. Yet Canty isn’t ignorant of the lives the characters still have to live, of the mistakes they still have to make. When I arrived at the end of Everything, I, too, thought: That’s it. That’s it exactly."
—Vendela Vida, The New York Times Book Review
“From beginning to end, Everything is one of those stunning rare novels with beautiful language, an intriguing structure and a gripping narrative. We are fortunate that Kevin Canty, already a great storyteller, has just written his finest work.”
“Kevin Canty’s Everything is about people at turning points in their lives who think they don’t have any good choices, but who end up going forward anyway for the simple reason that they must. Canty’s prose is spare but evocative: Ten of his words do more to convey the yearnings and pangs of his characters than other writers could achieve in 20. . . . It’s not just the characters’ emotions that you feel when you read this book. Canty’s love of the Montana countryside is almost palpable, whether he’s describing the glorious autumnal dying of a forest or the sparkling beauty of a lake on one of the last days of summer. And his descriptions of rural homes and farmsteads, with their fallen fences and broken-down trucks on the edge of the amazing expanse of the Big Sky Country wilderness, provide an apt metaphor for what often happens when human intentions are brought up against the brute reality of events.”
—The Boston Globe
"Written in prose as clear and quick as the river waters of his native Montana, Kevin Canty’s new novel is an unforgettable journey into the wilderness that lies between loss and redemption. As his characters struggle through this harsh terrain, they prove themselves to be just like you and me – only more so. With Everything, Canty confirms his place among our very best writers."
—Stephen Amidon, author of Security and Human Capital
“Kevin Canty’s new novel explores and celebrates the complexities of love, grief, and redemption and does so in prose so taut and electric that every sentence, every word—even the white space—carries a charge. Everything is a marvel.”
—Larry Watson, author of Montana, 1948 and Sundown, Yellow Moon
“There is truth and scorch in this fine new novel, Everything. Kevin Canty does not so much write a sentence as he cuts it into the page. He strikes me as the last of a kind, unflinching when faced with the dreadful prospect of our vast dying soul. He understands our secrets are themselves the keeper of secrets. He understands us for how wanting and dangerous and kind and unkind we can be to ourselves and to each other.”
—Robert Olmstead, author of Far Bright Star and Coal Black Horse
Praise for Kevin Canty’s Where the Money Went
“Tales as spare as Raymond Carver’s and as frank as a Larry David rant . . . These stories linger.”
—People (four stars)
“Incisive, bracingly insightful . . . Canty has great compassion for his sometimes-deluded, always-confused men . . . Canty’s uncanny ability to elevate the everyday sets these stories apart. He deftly re-evaluates dreams of success, makes drama and sense of modern emotional calamity.”
“What Russell Banks does for the Northeast, Kevin Canty does for the world west of the Mississippi: bleeds it dry of romanticism and bluntly exposes the foibles of its inhabitants . . . The nine stories in Where the Money Went put skill at tracking subtle emotional shifts on full display, artfully capturing people at the tender moments just before they go off the rails.”
“Canty creates palpable anxiety and velocity that is deliciously unbearable.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Canty leaves readers heartbroken and empathetic, but not exhausted. Grade: A.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the opening pages of this new book by Canty (Nine Below Zero), RL is sitting on a riverbank with his friend June and talking about her dead husband on the anniversary of what would have been his 50th birthday. What follows is the intensely personal story of June, RL, and his daughter Layla showing the haphazard nature of life and how we deal with the bad things that happen. June, wanting to start over, is considering selling her house, while the divorced RL wants to shelter an old girlfriend undergoing chemotherapy. Events unfold at various riversides in Montana, as people fish and smoke cigars while enjoying the spectacle that is nature—an elemental setting that highlights the plights of the characters, all knowingly described in Canty's liquid dialog. Canty creates a vibrant sense of the West that makes one appreciate the now. VERDICT Heartily recommended for book clubs and for readers who enjoy Western fiction.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L, CA
Canty (Where the Money Went, 2009, etc.) continues to hone his skills in creating nuanced and complex love relationships. The narrative begins with RL and June's annual ritual of going down to the river and drinking Johnnie Walker Red to celebrate the birthday of Taylor, RL's friend and June's husband, who died 11 years earlier. June, a hospice worker, is about ready to move on and find a new direction for her life, while RL, who owns an outdoors shop, is still not sure what shape his life is in. He's divorced and has one child, 19-year-old Layla. She's both a college student and an outdoorswoman, and is finding herself dissatisfied with her current love interest, Daniel, eight years her senior, a graduate student and would-be poet who's serially unfaithful. More to her liking is Edgar, who works for RL and is an artist manque. Edgar has a wife and daughter-and another on the way-but he and Layla become seriously involved, and Layla finds herself pregnant with his child. Even these relationships become more convoluted when Betsy, RL's girlfriend from way back when, needs lodging when she goes in to a local hospital for chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Both cynical and lost, RL takes up with Betsy again and finds himself pulled into a love relationship that involves him at a deeper level than he'd anticipated. Amid the drinking and futility emerge some hints of hope. At the end Edgar has an epiphany arising from the evanescence of a cloud, "a ragged cloud of white against the dark spring sky, a bit of vapor, of nothing, and yet he recognized it: the start of something." Other characters are able to tap into this same assurance. While a summary of Canty's novel reads like a soap opera, his deft handling of complicated love relationships and self-anguish raises the narrative to a more exalted level.
Four characters, three misguided romances, all forged from the madness of love, all made believable in Canty's skilled hands…In Canty's earlier work, the shadow of Raymond Carver loomed large, as it did for so many story writers at the time…With Everything, though, Canty has found a style all his own, and it casts a hypnotic spell. There are still the short, staccato sentences, but there are also longer passages that soar with a new confidence and lyricism.
The New York Times