Tag Archives: Tell Everyone I Said Hi

An Interview with Chad Simpson

Earlier this month we reviewed Chad Simpson’s story collection Tell Everyone I Said Hi. Over the last few months, we’ve had an email volley going about the book, his writing, and how the Midwest might be maligned. Here it is, in its basically (but not totally!) unabridged form.

MORRIS:  So how did it feel to win the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award? To my recollection, your name has come up a lot in the various near-miss categories for a number of awards. Was this something that felt more possible because you were so much on the cusp, or was it difficult to maintain a positive attitude with so many variations on the “you almost got there, slugger” rejection?

SIMPSON:  Because I was a finalist for two book contests in 2011, I don’t think I was quite as shocked as I might otherwise have been when I received the phone call from the University of Iowa Press. I was surprised, no doubt, but the call didn’t floor me. Over the course of the past several months, as the news has both spread and had time to sink in, I’ve begun to realize just how much luck is involved in winning a contest like this. You have to submit a decent manuscript to win, of course, but it takes a lot more than that. So, I feel lucky. And humbled. And very excited that this book of mine is going to be released into the world. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Chad Simpson’s “Tell Everyone I Said Hi”

I used to mow lawns when I was a kid, for my grandparents and some of their neighbors. It wasn’t so bad—I had cash and smelled like grass, both of which I found masculinely intoxicating. But sometimes the oldies would bust my ass and kill my buzz. One guy in particular used to chew me out when I’d miss the smallest spot in his lawn, let me have it when I’d mow dewey grass and leave it sloppy.

I resented that, and would just do a worse job in turn: leave little isosceles patches at every pivot, not get too close to the trunk when rounding the trees, forget to sweep loose grass off the driveway.

And soon he stopped having me do the grass, and I felt like I won, somehow. Twenty fewer dollars in my pocket a week, but a sense of pride about the fact that I’d somehow stood up, let that too-serious old guy have it—however silently the message was delivered.

But I knew he had a lot of stuff going on: I heard he was a veteran (WWII) and his wife had just died. Long after he stopped having me, when I mowed my grandma’s lawn across the street, I’d see him sitting on his two front steps, grilling a steak on his Smokey, looking around, neither contemplative nor engaged nor even really there at all.

I haven’t thought about the mowing or that old man or that whole juvenile triumph in a while. But after reading Chad Simpson’s short story collection, Tell Everyone I Said Hi, I’m finding it difficult to think about anything else, to cover up the image of that man and that stoop and that Smokey, the understanding that he was profoundly sad and I was cruelly happy in the way that only adolescents can be.

Simpson’s eighteen stories masterfully capture similar contrasts, and captivate the reader with their compassion and cleverness. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Our October Review Previewganza

As of today, September 29, we have reviewed forty-eight titles in 2012—not bad, right? This week we will publish titles 49 and 50. And yet, there’s more! So much more, really, to come as autumn turns to winter. October will be something of a catching-up period, for us, as we review some September titles sitting in our review queue. But there will be some October titles covered as well. Here’s a not-at-all exhaustive list of what we’ve got to come.  Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,