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Tell Everyone I Said Hi (Iowa Short Fiction…

Tell Everyone I Said Hi (Iowa Short Fiction Award) (edition 2012)

by Chad Simpson

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Title:Tell Everyone I Said Hi (Iowa Short Fiction Award)
Authors:Chad Simpson
Info:University Of Iowa Press (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 152 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:short fiction, John Simmons Short Fiction Award

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Tell Everyone I Said Hi (Iowa Short Fiction Award) by Chad Simpson



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Tell Everyone I Said Hi has eighteen poignant stories filled with regret, loss and heartache. They all have a middle, most have a beginning, one has an end, almost.

To pull this off story after story you have to write very well, with insight and clarity. Chad Simpson does that, but about halfway through the collection you’re wishing for a story where something significant happens, or concludes. You’re hoping for a solid resolution instead of a story dangling off a cliff, never to let go.

The final story, Consent, features a father and daughter from an earlier story, Peloma. He is teaching her how to drive some time after her mother and his wife has died in an auto accident. In a way, Consent completes part of Peloma and does offer a resolution, so it is a fitting story to conclude this collection. ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 13, 2013 |
From the University of Iowa Press comes another winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award; this time it’s "Tell Everyone I Said Hi" by Chad Simpson. For being a slim volume, it has a wide variety of effects, in a wide variety of lengths and treatment. Throughout, however, Mr. Simpson shows such insight into people’s mental states, in the oblique way people react to strife, and the way they seek company on their lonely journeys – even the snippets pack a wallop out of all proportion to their length.

The collection, in fact, leads off with "Miracle," a mere seven paragraphs long, including one of one sentence. In it, a man responds to his addled brother’s phone call about an accident, and cannot keep from laughing, although at night, he dreams the worst. In a very few short, matter-of-fact sentences, Mr. Simpson sets the tone for this collection: harrowed, highly personal, thought-provoking, and even uplifting. In "Potential" an exceptional young athlete stares millions of dollars in the face, as he tries to get past his conflict about being the first overall draft choice and moving on to the next phase of his life. In this story, we get a glimpse of the closeness between the son and his father who never pressured him on the field of play. It is a touching, superb piece. "Let x" rises very nearly to poetry, even though its subject includes thoughtless deeds by junior high-schoolers, deeds which change two young lives.

In this collection, people work momentously to fend for themselves, usually because of some mistake or unavoidable tendency which drove loved ones off. There are two stories that reprise one set of characters. Eponymous Peloma is twelve years old in the first one, over six feet tall, orange-haired, and heavy. She and her dad try to muddle through respective challenges in the wake of the mother/wife’s fatal auto accident. Peloma tries half-heartedly a couple of times to kill herself, but her father, telling the stories in the first person, finds the path they can travel together. The first story leaves us on a cliffhanger, almost literally. The second story with these characters concludes the collection. In it, Dad chides himself when he hears of Peloma’s almost disastrous first day of driving at driver’s ed. He acknowledges that he should have given Peloma some practice behind the wheel, and so takes her out. The final sequence of their experience together in his pickup truck forms a lovely climax to this sometimes haunting collection. It’s worth the price of admission by itself.

This is a remarkable, distinctive collection, and proves what the folks in Iowa City know so well: short fiction is in exceedingly capable hands. Kudos once again on this selection for the prize!

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2012/10/tell-everyone-i-said-hi-by-chad-simps... ( )
  LukeS | Oct 22, 2012 |
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Contains eighteen short stories by American author Chad Simpson.

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