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Books  >>  Biography

Roz Chast

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Roz Chast Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
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Biographical note:

Roz Chast was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978. Since then she has published hundreds of cartoons and written or illustrated more than a dozen books. This is her first memoir. She lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Main description:

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

Review quote:

“The wryest pen since Dorothy Parker’s.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“The wacky world Roz Chast has created in her cartoons is a parallel universe to ours, utterly recognizable in all its banalities and weirdnesses, but slightly askew.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“The magazine’s only certifiable genius.” —David Remnick, about Roz Chast at The New Yorker

Short description/annotation:

An alphabet of things to avoid, Do Not Want showcases the fears, phobias, and anxieties that occupy the fertile imagination of Roz Chast.

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