Synopses & Reviews
Early praise for Ray in Reverse
"Funny, thoughtful, full of refreshing surprises, it will take you to Heaven and back." --Elizabeth Strout, author of Amy and Isabelle
"Ray in Reverse is filled with wonder at the world and a gentle sadness over one man-child's baffled place in it. Unfailingly gentle and acute, the book somehow manages to get bigger and bigger as it moves toward its unusual vanishing point. A winning production from a singular writer." --Thomas Mallon, author of Dewey Defeats Truman
"A damn good book." --Percival Everett, author of Glyph
"A delightful, small package of exquisite writing...Ray is real, and his life makes oddly compelling reading--especially in reverse." --Booklist, starred review
Praise for Big Fish
"A comic novel about death, about the mysteries of parents and the redemptive power of storytelling." --USA Today
"Refreshing, original debut...the transformative quality of fable and fairy tale." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"An audacious, highly original debut novel...an imaginative, and moving, record of a son's love for a charming, unknowable father." --Kirkus Reviews
"Both comic and poignant." --The New York Times Book Review
"A magic carpet ride of a novel...amazing." --Birmingham Weekly
"Daniel Wallace brings to his role as author wit, a subtle compassion, and an offbeat originality that begins, but certainly doesn't end, with the backward unreeling of this refreshingly savvy novel." The Boston Globe
In this follow-up to Big Fish, Ray Williams, now sitting in heaven, reflects back on his difficult life including his adulterous marriage, moments of sexual confusion, his worst deed, and his one good one.
Regret looms large in Daniel Wallace's latest novel, Ray in Reverse
, the funny and poignant story of a life, told backward.
Sitting in the Last Words support group in Heaven, Ray Williams ruminates on his short life of fifty years, his episodes of infidelity, his premature marriage proposal, his sexual confusion, the dog he accidentally killed, and the baby he unwittingly saved. Ray is Everyman at his very best and his absolute worst even he can't always tell the difference. Beginning at death and ending in his childhood, Ray in Reverse leads us back to Ray in his innocence, achieving, against all odds, a happy ending.
Sitting in heaven, Ray Williams reflects back on his difficult life--including his adulterous marriage, moments of sexual confusion, his worst deed, and his one good one. Wallace's follow-up to "Big Fish" offers a fresh take on how a man who started out with the best intentions strayed so far off course.
Sitting in Last Words group where everyone is recounting their last words on earth, Ray is embarrassed. He didn't declare his love. He didn't say anything symbolic. He didn't reveal his benevolence or goodwill. In fact, he didn't even finish his sentence. His words didn't measure up, and now he can't seem to get them out of his head.
Now, in Heaven, he has time to reflect on his short life of fifty years. This is the darkly humorous story of that life, told backward. We see Ray Williams in his life's most crucial moments--his moments of infidelity, his premature proposal of marriage, his sexual confusion, the dog he accidentally killed, the penny he had to have, and the baby he unwittingly saved. Ray is Everyman at his very best and at his absolute worst--and is none too clear about when he's being either one. Beginning at death and ending at age ten, Wallace's novel leads us back to Ray in his innocence--achieving, against all odds, a happy ending.
Funny, unforgettable, and with one foot in a fabulistic world, Ray in Reverse continues the incandescent storytelling of Big Fish, the storytelling that one reviewer described as "Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Rowan and Martin."
About the Author
Daniel Wallace has published stories in numerous magazines, including Story, Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, and Shenandoah. His first novel, Big Fish, was translated into German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Daniel Wallace now lives with his son, Henry, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he also works as an illustrator.