Phantoms by Chad Simpson
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.
“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
Read more reviews of the book by Sean Lovelace at HTML GIANT