cover art And Sally Makes Three
by Ned & Shiva Productions
About Tod Goldberg
Readings & Appearances
by Tod Goldberg
From the author of the acclaimed novel Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, come 12 haunting stories about people caught somewhere between love and madness. Simplify, winner of the Other Voices Short Fiction Contest is the first collection of short fiction by Tod Goldberg, and portrays a world where redemption, hope and violence are never too far apart.
"The stories in this collection hum with speed and ferocity and a raw energy that
exposes your nerve endings, wakes up places inside of you that you had happily lulled to sleep.
The sharp-edged, hard-luck boys that populate these pages know exactly how you feel at two in the
morning and are telling the truth about it. Simplify is ruthless and tender, truthful, full of
heart and scary in all the right ways."
"Energized, engaging, highly readable-- each one of Tod Goldberg's
stories is a nugget of originality. I started each new story with
fresh interest, wondering where he would take me next-- to bleeding
Elvis, or the Salton Sea, or through the strange way childhood cruelty
rearranges adulthood. A terrific collection."
"With Simplify Tod Goldberg places himself in the company of such modern
masters of short fiction as Dan Chaon, Rick De Marinis and Thom Jones, demonstrating a broad range of
styles and moods that he manages to coalesce into a single and frankly, pretty disturbing whole."
"Tod Goldberg is an amazing true original who plunges deep into the
scary heart of our American life. Hilarious and unnerving, charming and creepy,
dusted with a strange, ineffable melancholy, these stories made the hair on my head
stand up and my eyes fall out. I recommend Simplify to everyone, everywhere.
Read it right now!"
"Things this book has in it:
"Simplify captures a wide range of emotions and style in his debut collection of
short stories. Goldberg has thought a lot about the human condition and the
way our hearts and minds define us. He is effortlessly brilliant with his
pared-down prose and attention to detail. In a society that is disinclined
to contemplate our own deaths, Goldberg hits it head-on with no qualms or
fluff. His stories will provoke and startle you. There is a distinct balance
in each of his stories, giving just enough humor, thought and sincerity
to the entire collection. It’s rare to find a book that can evoke such
strong emotions within a single collection, however, Tod Goldberg’s
Simplify is a force to be reckoned with."
"Everybody dies at the end of a Tod Goldberg story. Well, almost. The
ones who don’t die — violently, through hangings, shots to the heart, slit wrists, drownings,
murders — are left to deal with the emotional and psychological fallout. They are the mothers,
fathers, younger brothers and sisters in Goldberg’s creepy, strangely sardonic, definitely
disturbing version of Middle America...And that, of course, is where the fun begins."
"Building on the reputation of Other Voices, the all-fiction
magazine founded in 1984 in Chicago, editors Gina Frangello and JoAnne Ruvoli launched
Other Voices Books (www.othervoicesmagazine.org) with the release of Tod Goldberg’s
short story collection, Simplify, last month. Published by the nonprofit Other Voices,
Inc., in collaboration with the University of Illinois Press, Other Voices Books aims
“to keep the short story form vital in today’s competitive and increasingly commercial
marketplace, where short fiction has been largely marginalized by corporate conglomerate
publishers.” The press is off to a good start with its debut title, which received
prepublication blurbs from Pam Houston, Aimee Bender, and Dan Chaon—all previous
contributors to Other Voices. And Goldberg’s past success won’t hurt either: His novel
Living Dead Girl, published by Soho Press (www.sohopress.com) in 2002, was a
finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize."
"Short story collections are nearly impossible to review, especially
in anything under several hundred words. (How do you comment generally on a book that
contains twelve different stories that vary in plot, theme, quality, etc.?) Still, there
are a few observations that one can make about Tod Goldberg's Simplify. The stories are
sharp and insightful, many of them dealing with issues emerging from childhood. The writing
is often funny, even when it's painful, and always to the point, with keen dialogue and a
strong voice. Finally, the stories on the whole are powerful, provocative and a pleasure
to read. The title entry, in particular, is a minor masterpiece."
"Tod Goldberg's collection, Simplify, contradicts its title:
Goldberg complicates things, in brilliant and moving ways, in stories that live
along the border between the mundane and the surreal. ... Goldberg's prose is
deceptively smooth, like a vanilla milkshake spiked with grain alcohol,
and his ideas are always made more complex and engaging by the offbeat
angles his stories take."
"A keen voice, profound insight...Tod Goldberg's fine ear for dialogue
and for the spoken nuances of social microstrata enable him to dispense with reams of
descriptive background and cut straight to the heart of the matter. If sometimes his
overwhelmed characters fail to fully engage emotionally, their deadpan delivery of
jolting ironies reaches to laugh-out-loud heights of insight. Even the collection's
title has a sardonic ring. While hardly simple, Simplify is devilishly entertaining."