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Other Resort Cities, by Tod Goldberg

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Other Resort Cities, by Tod Goldberg


Other Resort Cities, by Tod Goldberg


Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Paperback: 211 pages
ISBN: 978-0-981589-99-2
Trim: 8 x 5.5


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In ten seductive new stories, the author of Simplify and Living Dead Girl encounters the ruthless, vulnerable people who inhabit resort cities, along with their felonies and misdemeanors. A mobster hides out in Las Vegas posing as a rabbi; a casino cocktail waitress adopts a Russian teen in an attempt to outrun her loneliness; a disturbed husband sets up a Starbucks in his living room; a retired sheriff looks for his first wife's remains in the Salton Sea.


"Tod Goldberg's stories are not like faceted jewels. They are like glinting barbed wire, actually, roped across the field where you are reading, racing, wondering what's next, and then pierced with longing, regret, or revelation. His new collection kept me reading like that — racing to find out what would happen next to these people only Tod Goldberg could create." —Susan Straight,  author ofHighwire Moon and A Million Nightingales 

"Tod Goldberg is a gifted writer, a surveyor of the soul, and Other Resort Cities is powerful fiction. He catches his characters at moments of great stress, then reveals their depths to us with compelling insight and great empathy. He sure as hell knows the details that convince. These are inventive and fresh stories that might have been merely clever in lesser hands, but Goldberg’s talent and compassion extends dignity even to the most fucked-up and misbegotten lives." —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone

"This is an excellent, compulsively readable collection. Goldberg knows and loves the cities of which he writes, and he brings their unsung citizens to life in a brilliant and affecting way." —Mary Yukari Waters
author of The Laws of Evening and The Favorites


Other Resort Cities, Tod Goldberg's latest collection of stories, explores desperate, double-dealing and deluded lives striving for authenticity in developments where 'memory becomes insufficient in the face of commerce and space.' The landscape includes the resort cities of Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Scottsdale with their brand-new, gated communities as arid and unnatural as the humans that live uneasily within them. Goldberg, whose previous books include the novel Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the story collection Simplify, is a master of presenting the dark matter of the human psyche in beguiling, sometimes fantastic, inventive ways. This collection gleefully introduces uninitiated readers into Goldberg's richly comic voice and his continued preoccupation with our potential for violence and self-deception...What Goldberg taps into most beautifully is the impulse to retreat from the chaotic complexity of the world, the ubiquitous temptation to inhabit the pristine model-home lives of our dreams."Los Angeles Times

"In his second collection of short fiction, Tod Goldberg delivers ten seductive stories that target the traumatic reality of failed dreams and the struggle to make amends with the past. Each kinetic story pulses and pops with authenticity. Goldberg has not a word misplaced, often times weaving tragedy and beauty with the result of heartbreaking height, similar in style to Mark Richard or Thom Jones. His characters find themselves trapped, whether literally or figuratively  lost in a world where they cannot connect with the projected image of themselves or attain the goal of a satisfied life...Other Resort Cities is home to a tragic population: children and police, drug dealers and teachers, baristas and lawyers, rabbis and gangsters, fuck-ups and failures. Goldberg continues his examination of the human condition, detailing the struggle between a corporeal existence versus an ethereal wane, with each character asking the questions: is this really my reality or have I simply dreamed the whole damn thing? Sadly, though, in 'Walls' Goldberg gives us the answer — 'there isn't a way for memory to freeze the body like it freezes trauma in place.'" NewPages

“Darkly funny and ferociously readable, Other Resort Cities is a book you'll want to spend your entire holiday reading. Because of the subtle crime plots that give each story momentum, Goldberg's book doubles as an ideal choice for mystery-lovers.” Tucson Weekly

"There's something about a resort vacation that makes you appreciate home. For the characters living in the getaway destinations of Tod Goldberg's latest collection, Other Resort Cities, leaving home is a desperate imperative. A Chicago hit man hides in Las Vegas, where 15 years later he's a respected rabbi of a money-laundering temple. Trouble is, he wants out of all of it--the mafia, faux Judaism and especially Vegas. 'Mitzvah' indeed. A cuckolded father abducts his children and ends up squatting in model homes, and another deserted husband converts his gated-community home into a Starbucks. Bad decisions come as naturally to Goldberg's characters as his incisive wit is a natural part of his storytelling."Time Out Chicago

"Menace and mayhem brew beneath the finely crafted surface of these magnetic short stories of American mania and despair. Goldberg draws on his crime-fiction chops (Living Dead Girl, 2002) to portray refugees from failed attempts at middle-class normalcy seeking freedom and revenge in the overdeveloped deserts of the American West. Goldberg's disgruntled characters get up to no good in Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and various gated communities just begging for defilement. A lonely, no-longer-young cocktail waitress struggles to understand her missing Russian adopted daughter. A former sheriff and cancer survivor returns to the strange, toxic, devouring Salton Sea, where he lost his first wife. A man converts his fancy home into a Starbucks after the disappearance of his second wife, and one wonders just how insane he truly is. Goldberg pulls out all the stops in 'Mitzvah,' a tale about an ersatz rabbi and a temple-centered money- and body-laundering scheme. A divorced father kidnaps his kids; a family is found slain on a mountain. These are eerie, obliquely compassionate, darkly humorous, and ensnaring stories of misery and catharsis." Booklist

"The people who populate these stories could totally exist in our society and probably some do. They are just like you and me, but with some truly twisted backstories. Some of these stories could be expanded into even further lengths. While I’d love to read more about these people, I definitely would not want to hang out with most of them. Other Resort Cities is an eye-opening look at life in today’s society, never sugarcoating its harsh reality. " Bookgasm 

"Prose is perfectly haunting, with a pace that will pull you into his characters and leave you with a similar feeling as if you just saw a great film." Bakotopia Magazine