Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Tell Everyone I Said Hi by Chad Simpson

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

More than any book trailer I've seen this year, the video for Chad Simpson's short story collection Tell Everyone I Said Hi creates a mood so palpable you could stab it with a pitchfork.  Using only a series of still images and Erik Satie's melancholy piano music "Trois Gymnopedies," the trailer evokes a feeling of sadness at the decay of abandoned buildings, vine-choked brick, rusting horse trailers, and graffiti-clogged silos of the Midwest.  These are the towns left to die by interstate bypasses, these are the homes whose owners left in 1973 and never came back, these are the grocery-store signs with one burned-out light bulb, these are the communities which have watched the world rush past on an express train, never climbing aboard.  The publisher's blurb on the book's Amazon site puts it this way: "With all the heartbreaking earnestness of a Wilco song, these eighteen stories by Chad Simpson roam the small-town playgrounds, blue-collar neighborhoods, and rural highways of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky."  Those neighborhoods of empty swing-sets and houses with peeling paint are on full parade here in the video.  Not a word is spoken, not a person is seen--and yet, by the end of the two-and-a-half-minute video, we have a pretty good idea what waits for us in the pages of Simpson's stories.  The video literally sets the stage for the characters to populate--characters like "women who smell of hairspray and beer and of 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."  Tell Everyone I Said Hi was already high on my wish list but now the trailer convinces me I need to read this book sooner rather than later.  It publishes next week.  Go get it.  (And yes, that's a direct order.)

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