This Is Between Us

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9781935639701: This Is Between Us

This Is Between Us, Kevin Sampsell's utterly engrossing debut novel, is a confessional tale of love between two resilient people who have staked their hearts on each other.

Chronicling five years of a troubled romance, This Is Between Us offers an intimate view of one couple’s struggle―from the illicit beginnings of sexual obsession to the fragile architecture of a pieced-together family. Full of sweet moments, emotional time bombs, unexpected humor, and blunt sexuality, the daily life of this man and woman, both recently divorced, with children and baggage in tow, emerges in all of its complexity. In this utterly engrossing debut novel, Kevin Sampsell delivers a confessional tale of love between two resilient people who have staked their hearts on each other.

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About the Author:

Kevin Sampsell is the author of the memoir A Common Pornography (2010 Harper Perennial) and the short story collection Creamy Bullets (Chiasmus) and the editor of the anthology Portland Noir (Akashic). Sampsell is the publisher of the micropress Future Tense Books, which he started in 1990. He has worked at Powell's Books as an events coordinator and the head of the small press section for fifteen years. His essays have appeared recently in Salon, the Faster Times, Jewcy, and the Good Men Project. His fiction has been published in McSweeney’s,Nerve, Hobart, and in several anthologies. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife and son.

Review:

"Well written . . . . consisting of telling moments and epiphanies rendered in precise, poetic prose."
Publishers Weekly

"Sampsell moves on from the personal essays of his book A Common Pornography, and gives readers this sad and sweet tale of a love that doesn’t seem right."
Flavorwire (picked This Is Between Us as a 10 Must-Read Books for November)

"Sampsell's novel This Is Between Us is an excellent, very funny and very creepy story of a relationship. It's narrated by a man who's telling the story to his girlfriend, who the book's about. This is the sort of book you should blank out an afternoon for, because you'll want to read the whole thing all at once."
The Stranger

"The warmer moments in this novel have all the real-life glow of a flowering relationship. Sampsell’s crafting of these scenes is commendable. He is unafraid of the 'unmentionables,' and gracefully and bravely takes on these characters’ many sex scenes..."
Bustle

"It makes for a reading experience that feels both uncomfortably voyeuristic and engrossingly personal. This Is Between Us is a remarkable achievement."
Joseph Riippi, Tweeds: Magazine of Literature and Art

"There is a book called This Is Between Us. In this book there is a man, a storyteller, talking to a woman. He is telling her stories, short memories directed to her, meant for her. He is telling her their story. Pick up this book and read it."
Busking at the Seams

"This Is Between Us, traverses the peaks and valleys of a passionate relationship between an unnamed single father and an unnamed single mother over a five-year period with a frankness rarely seen in fiction. Told in a series of lean, almost poetic vignette’s, Sampsell presents not a sentimental slideshow of Kodak moments, but a raw inventory of private confessions. He observes with an unvarnished eye all of the resentments, fears, and insecurities that can weed their way into adult relationships, along with moments of lustful elation."
YAY LA Magazine

"The writing is strange and unexpected enough to keep us interested, and the content is both funny and devastating."
Tweeds

"Sampsell’s phrasing and imagery never fall short of wonderfully surprising or equally heartbreaking."
The Austin Review

"This is Between Us by Kevin Sampsell is an articulate and deliciously written novel which maps a relationship over the span of five years."
Ardor Literary Magazine

"Lovely...understated...This is a book that deserves to be read in one sitting."
Your Impossible Voice

"Kevin Sampsell's novel This Is Between Us is a mosaic of captured moments, a book that brilliantly builds an intricate portrait of a relationship."
Largehearted Boy

"This is Between Us is like the anti-romcom (although it is romantic. And funny.) [ .] Sampsell’s protagonist is candid about the struggles in the relationship and the problems he has with the person he loves. This is Between Us is a powerful reminder of the world you create with someone when the two of you fall in love."
The Airship

"The ending of the book felt spot-on to me, in the way that it provided some emotional release and deepened everything that came before it understated, sure, but nearly perfect. It's not often that I read a book and think the author got the ending so right."
CCLaP (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography)

"This Is Between Us is an imperturbable, strange, melancholy (but never maudlin) piece of work. Kevin Sampsell straddles the line between candor and oversharing with an artful grace I found infectious."
Patrick deWitt, author of Ablutions and The Sisters Brothers

"This Is Between Us is an utterly unsentimental and deeply nuanced portrait of a relationship. With great delicacy and compassion, Kevin Sampsell unflinchingly examines love from every angle-- sacred and profane, transcendent and mundane. This is Between Us asserts that messy, terrifying, imperfect love is worth it, after all. After reading it, you'll be a believer."
Jillian Lauren, author of NY Times best-selling memoir Some Girls and Pretty

"Here is the quiet, funny, heartbreak truth of Real Love. Read it and weep."
Amelia Gray, author of THREATS

"In This Is Between Us Kevin Sampsell writes with grace and intimacy about the toughest subject of all love and manages to capture a relationship in its natural state: wry and wistful, strange and sexy, humming with desire, quaking with vulnerability."
Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins

"This Is Between Us lets the reader under the covers of what it means to be in human relationships not the lame-o story everyone so desperately wants to smoothly fit within, but the crumpled and stained and yet still beautiful version we actually live. Kevin Sampsell has written the pieces of our glorious failures and fleeting victories with such poignancy my head and my heart are laughing, bleeding, and, above all, dreaming onward. You want this book more than facebook and chocolate. I love it with my whole body."
Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water

"Finely detailed and beautifully observed, This Is Between Us captures the humorous and heart-wrenching intimacies of two people in love. Kevin Sampsell sheds exquisite insight into the way a hundred ordinary moments in a relationship add up to something extraordinary and deeply meaningful. This novel is moving, surprising, and utterly absorbing I couldn't put it down."
Davy Rothbart, author of My Heart Is an Idiot, creator of Found Magazine, contributor to public radio's This American Life

"Kevin Sampsell is the original unadorned romantic. His writing makes you love him, and it's easy all the way down. This Is Between Us really DOES feel like you and he are sharing these intimacies sexy, honest moments that not everyone is lucky enough to experience."
Susie Bright, author of Big Sex, Little Death

"Sampsell constructs a quiet and honest ultra-reality that slyly becomes profound. He is telling us something about ourselves. We are selfish and stubborn and flawed and never as good as we want to be. But we also have an amazing capacity to love, and when we do, we can trump it all."
The Register-Guard

Critical Praise for Kevin Sampsell's Memoir: A Common Pornography

Sampsell shares loneliness with such intensity that his book almost defeats it both his and yours. Five stars.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK

Sampsell has written a memoir almost unlike any other...a fascinating read.”
TIME OUT CHICAGO

Its droll style and its archaeological attentiveness to the debris of American life - the remote controls, video recorders, tight ends, and one-hit wonders of yesteryear - combined with Sampsell’s talent for observing the ordinary, infuse the most common’ incidents of growing up with wit and meaning.”
HARPER'S MAGAZINE

[A] rather miraculous act of artistic self-creation...his story alone is an adequate metaphor for itself, the life it describes, and its hard-won pleasures.”
BOOKFORUM

The material perfectly fits the form, shards of memory fused into a compelling concretion of moments. A worthy addition to the work of such contemporary memoirists as Nick Flynn, Augusten Burroughs, Dave Eggers, and Stephen Elliott”
BOOKLIST

Embarrassing and honest, heartbreaking and hilarious. A Common Pornography is a great memoir from one of the Northwest’s best writers.”
Willy Vlautin, author of Northline and The Motel Life

Kevin Sampsell’s stories are brief incantations, uppercuts to the gut, prose poems given over to the bloodiest realms of the self. It’s all here: the emotional squalor, the sweet bite of loneliness. Make no mistake: Sampsell can write like hell.”
Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal

This is a heartbreaking and magnificent book....I am reminded of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son. This is the kind of book where you want to thank the author for helping you feel less alone with being alive.”
Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir! and The Double Life is Twice as Good

For beauty, honesty, sheer weirdness, and a haunting evocation of place, Kevin Sampsell is my favorite Oregon writer. Ken Kesey, Chuck Palahniuk make some room on the shelf.”
Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of it All

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