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.
A young married couple
meet Jesus and the devil every holiday season (Jesus is a coffee drinker, the
devil likes German beer), and their lives are both blessed and cursed. A
dys lexic creates an all-encompassing alphabet, a distinct symbol for every
person and event in his world, evoking the language of a book in
a Borgesian infinite library. A picture of Elvis Presley bleeds, making
its owner a reluctant celebrity.
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
No, we’re not talking about TJ HOOKER masturbation fanfic, but the Chicago Tribune’s rave review of my brother Tod’s new short story collection SIMPLIFY.