126 DAYS OF CONTINUOUS SUNSHINE
The Dial Press, NY, 1972.
Stories published originally in slightly different form in following magazines: “The Loving Tongue” and “Kappelman in the Diaspora” in Harper’s Bazaar, “126 Days of Continuous Sunshine” in Iowa Review, “A Sign of Favor” in Shenandoah, “The Education of Martin Fogle” in Art and Literature.
“The Death of Los Angeles,” appeared in Works in Progress, (Selections From the Best in Books to be Published in Coming Months), Number Six, The Literary Guild of America, 1972.
--When his mood is benign, Gerald Jay Goldberg regards
the world through skewed lenses and produces wonders: “Martin Fogle
was growing up, as in the background his aging parents disappeared into
their shoes.” Slightly nutty, but marvelously accurate: this is
exactly what the aging parents of a 15-year-old body builder would do.
A bit further on in the same story [“The Education of Martin Fogle”]
, the reader learns of Martin’s father that “Once an idea
occurred to him, he would hold on to it like an umbrella in a high wind.”
Not so nutty, but definitely skewed, a vision to be proud of.
--I feel like a minor character in one of the stories in
Gerald Jay Goldberg’s collection, 126 DAYS OF CONTINUOUS SUNSHINE,
as I start to write this review. In fact, there are twinges of recognition
in quite a few of the characters in these 11 short stories, which I suppose
is the best compliment I can pay this talented writer…. Even the
least of the stories show virtuosity and the best of them mark a talent
of exciting strength. And in the end, we are looking over the shoulder
of a writer who has begun to probe with humor and compassion new and exciting
territory. There is an artist among us.
--Gerald Jay Goldberg is a talented writer who won well-deserved
attention a couple of years ago with a Vermont guignol-novel, THE LYNCHING
OF ORIN NEWFIELD. Throughout this collection, he plays close attention
to detail. His prose sparkles with well-observed idiosyncrasies.
---In the blinding sunshine of contemporary aridity with
no relieving shade, Goldberg’s people either shrivel or expand to
attain bizarre gratifications. He explores random points of human insularity
with an acute and savage efficiency.
--Ranks with Thomas Pynchon’s novel, The Crying of
Lot 49, in describing California insanity.
--In 1970 Gerald Jay Goldberg published a novel--The
Lynching of Orin Newfield--that made quite an impression: it was,
simply, a lot of fun to read. Newfield was a Vermont farmer, a magnificent,
foul-mouthed old s.o.b. who kicked dogs, seduced widows…Gerald Goldberg
brought his characters thundering to life, and his narrative was studded
with vivid turns of phrase that came across as organic extensions of a
very special sensibility….The best stories in [126 DAYS OF CONTINUOUS
SUNSHINE] deal with variants of the “Orin Newfield” type,
though the heroes are not defiant non-conformists or rugged individualists.
They are just loners, some of them academics and most of them Jews, and
all have been playing the game with some success until their lives reach
a crisis--and they discover that they haven’t quite understood the
--Goldberg’s writing is sharp and evocative, and
his dialogue, especially in “The Loving Tongue,” a marvelous
story about a loquacious American tourist traveling with his very smart
six-year-old son, is delightful.
--If you are forced to choose between short story collections
by Gerald Jay Goldberg and John O’Hara, pick the Goldberg book.
It has some first-rate writing in it…My favorite among the Goldberg
stories is one in which a pushy, gregarious divorcee, Ethel Peterson tries
to play matchmaker to a lonely, withdrawn widow, Mrs. Lake….This
odd love story is called “The Bach Master,” and it is a natural
wonder. Just reading it will make you feel good. The rest of the tales
in 126 DAYS OF CONTINUOUS SUNSHINE are right up to the mark, too. Let’s
hear it for Goldberg.
--Goldberg is clearly an extraordinary writer and deserves
recognition alongside Thomas McGuane and Barthelme as a leading black
humorist and surrealist.
--These stories are sharp, clever, funny. A few, however,
are eerie and moving such as “The Mowers”…. Goldberg’s
stories are reminiscent stylistically of those by Nathanael West, author
of The Day of the Locust. But unlike West’s work, the implicit
irony is tempered by the author’s empathy for his characters. Satire
doesn’t destroy the underlying humanness of these stories.