cover art And Sally Makes Three
by Ned & Shiva Productions

Order Copies
About Tod Goldberg
Tod's Blog

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."
--Pam Houston, author of
Cowboys Are My Weakness; Sight Hound

"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."
--Aimee Bender, author of
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt; Willful Creatures

"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."
--Scott Phillips, author of
The Walkaway; The Ice Harvest

"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!"
--Dan Chaon, author of
You Remind Me of Me; Among the Missing

"Things this book has in it:
a Jesus who hangs out at Gay Pride Parades and Toys R’ Us and Starbucks.
a bleeding portrait of Elvis
the Loch Ness monster
These stories are superlatively smart, friggin' hilarious, stab-in-the-chest painful, and overall super rad and awesome. Best of all, this is a book with some serious heart. Quite simply, Goldberg has the ability to make you connect with every one of his characters--and since not a few of them are weird on their good days, that's no small thing. If you want more than that from a book, I don't think I know you anymore. This is the kind of book I wait for, the kind of book that makes whatever the next book is disappointing. It's a skip the next book altogether and wait for the next Goldberg. More please."
--Elizabeth Crane, author of
When The Messenger Is Hot; All This Heavenly Glory

"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."
--Angela Stubbs Full Review

"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."
--LA Weekly

"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 ( 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 ( in 2002, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize."
--Kevin Larimer Poets & Writers

"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."
--Crime Fiction Dossier (

"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."
--The Chicago Tribune Full Review

"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."
-- Los Angeles Times