Citywide Blackout

Robert Steven Goldstein takes on a new perspective with “Will’s Surreal Period”

June 20, 2022

After reading just a couple chapters of Robert Goldstein's fourth novel, “Will's Surreal Period,” I have to say I was completely hooked, so it was a blast to speak with the writer on the various ins and outs of the characters, theme, and setting. Here's a quick look at the synopsis:

 

When William Wozniak, a San Francisco artist who has struggled for years in obscurity, suddenly and inexplicably finds himself painting in a startlingly new surreal style, he is embraced by the art world.

But health issues lead him to a neurologist, where Will discovers that his new artistic style is the result of a life-threatening brain tumor. He must decide whether to have surgery to remove it—relegating him to painting once again in the drab style that defined his years of anonymity—or allow the tumor to grow and most likely kill him.

 

To make matters worse, William and his wife Rosemary are struggling financially, having been disowned by William’s father Arthur, a cantankerous and homophobic old widower. Arthur is cared for by his younger son, Bertram, in a big house in Scarsdale, New York. But when Bertram, a gay man in the closet due to his fear of being disinherited, finally comes out, Arthur decides to switch allegiance to Will and move to California.

 

A mess ensues.

 

And it remains to be seen whether Laurel, a portly, progressively minded California real estate agent who’s taken an improbable liking to Arthur, will make the situation better—or worse.

 

Robert and I look into the choice that his main character has to make and how this blends with the other storyline of the dysfunctional family. We talk about his choice to retire in his 50s and pursue writing and how it's defined him as a person. Robert shares the stories of his first three novels, how they're all tied together and at the same time, stand alone.

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