TELL EVERYONE I SAID HI
Winner of the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award
Available from the University of Iowa Press
“Chad Simpson writes with a piercing tenderness and sadness about loss and helplessness and the impossible decisions that we face every day, and the complexity of the compromises we offer the world, and ourselves, in response." --Jim Shepard
"Chad Simpson is clever, compassionate, and refreshingly nuanced in his perceptions of the world, and his stories enchant with both style and substance. Tell Everyone I Said Hi returns again and again to fractured families, to orphans and widows, the strange and the estranged, and each story offers new insight into loneliness and love. Each story is a delight." --Justin Torres, author, We the Animals
"Chad Simpson’s Tell Everyone I Said Hi is my kind of book. James Wright once beautifully asked, Where is the sea that once solved the whole/loneliness of the Midwest? The line kept bubbling up in my mind as I read these unpretentious and deeply moving stories. We’re in the Midwest—Chad Simpson’s Midwest—a place of broken hearts and missed opportunities, flooded basements and faulty wiring. The real stuff, it’s all here." --Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love
Booklist: It is no mistake that this collection by the latest recipient of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award is bracketed by stories about cars. Is there any other, more poignant metaphor for the Midwest than the immense promise and eventual collapse of the auto industry (except the Chicago Cubs, who also often appear)? That sentiment echoes throughout Simpson’s stories about the heartland, which chronicle missed or nearly missed opportunities, broken hearts, and the effort to pick up the pieces and move forward. In the first story, the narrator’s brother narrowly escapes death after being run over by his own car. In “Peloma,” a widower whose wife died in a car accident tries to connect with his awkwardly tall teenaged daughter as she deals with her own grief by feebly trying to kill herself. And in the final story, Peloma bravely learns how to drive, despite the trauma of her mother’s death. Simpson’s stories highlight the struggle and resilience of people beset by disappointment and broken promises and the hopefulness that lives on in all of them, against all odds. --Sarah Hunter
Jacket copy: The world of Chad Simpson's “Tell Everyone I Said Hi” is geographically small but far from provincial in its portrayal of emotionally complicated lives. With all the earnestness of a Wilco song, these eighteen stories roam the small-town playgrounds, blue-collar neighborhoods, and rural highways of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky to find people who’ve lost someone or something they love and have not yet found ways to move forward. In “Peloma,” a steelworker grapples with his teenage daughter’s feeble suicide attempts while the aftermath of his wife’s death and the politics of factory life vie to hem him in. The narrator of “Fostering” struggles to determine the ramifications of his foster child’s past now that he and his wife are expecting their first biological child. In just two pages, “Let x” negotiates the yearnings and regrets of childhood through mathematical variables and the summertime interactions of two fifth-graders. Poignant, fresh, and convincing, these are stories of women who smell of hairspray and beer and landscapers who worry about their livers, of flooded basements and loud trucks, of bad exes and horrible jobs, of people who remain loyal to sports teams that always lose. Displaced by circumstances both in and out of their control, the characters who populate “Tell Everyone I Said Hi” are lost in their own surroundings, thwarted by misguided aspirations and long-buried disappointments, but fully open to the possibility that they will again find their way.
Published in a limited edition in 2010 by Origami Zoo Press
Now available for Kindle
The characters in Chad Simpson’s Phantoms are lost and struggling but constantly in motion — a brother upright after being run over by his own car, a retired father-in-law falling slowly off the grid, a young woman on a Midwestern bar stoop plotting a trip to Tunisia, a lonely sales rep whose mouth sags even when she smiles. In nine meticulously crafted short pieces, Simpson creates scenes covering vast emotional terrain where these characters emerge, imperfect and unfinished. In gestures large and small, kind and cruel, they push and pull at the fates laid out for them, constantly chasing the other versions of themselves they know will never quite become real.
PRAISE FOR PHANTOMS
“I want to say impossible things about Chad Simpson’s sentences: how, via discipline, they arrive at grace. How they serve as clean lineaments of experience. How they hum with the mystery they conduct. I want to say simple things about Chad Simpson’s fictions: read them. Right this second. They’re so well made and told.”
—Scott Garson, author of American Gymnopédies
“Chad Simpson’s stories claim borders wider than their page counts might suggest, doubled as they are by the ghosts that flicker between their sentences. It is these ghosts that Simpson asks us to reckon with, and it is his characters’ attempts to chain or banish these specters–with memory, with miracle, with mathematics–that ultimately ties us to their lives, so that they might haunt us far beyond these intricately-inked pages.”
—Matt Bell, author of How They Were Found