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Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Roz Chast
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6. Mai 2014

#1 New York Times Bestseller


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't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 240 Seiten
  • Verlag: Bloomsbury; Auflage: New. (6. Mai 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1608198065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608198061
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,1 x 23,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 7.618 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"By turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Ms. Chast reminds us how deftly the graphic novel can capture ordinary crises in ordinary American lives." —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times  

"A tour de force of dark humor and illuminating pathos about her parents’ final years as only this quirky genius of pen and ink could construe them." —Elle  

"An achievement of dark humor that rings utterly true." —Washington Post  

"One of the major books of 2014 . . . Moving and bracingly candid . . . This is, in its original and unexpected way, one of the great autobiographical memoirs of our time." —Buffalo News  

"Better than any book I know, this extraordinarily honest, searing and hilarious graphic memoir captures (and helps relieve) the unbelievable stress that results when the tables turn and grown children are left taking care of their parents. . . [A] remarkable, poignant memoir." —San Francisco Chronicle  

"Very, very, very funny, in a way that a straight-out memoir about the death of one’s elderly parents probably would not be . . . Ambitious, raw and personal as anything she has produced." —New York Times  

"Devastatingly good . . . Anyone who has had Chast’s experience will devour this book and cling to it for truth, humor, understanding, and the futile wish that it could all be different." —St. Louis Post Dispatch  

"Gut-wrenching and laugh-aloud funny. I want to recommend it to everyone I know who has elderly parents, or might have them someday." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  

"Joins Muriel Spark's Memento Mori, William Trevor's The Old Boys, and Kingsley Amis's Ending Up in the competition for the funniest book about old age I've ever read. It is also heartbreaking." —Barnes & Noble Review  

"Revelatory… So many have faced (or will face) the situation that the author details, but no one could render it like she does. A top-notch graphic memoir that adds a whole new dimension to readers’ appreciation of Chast and her work." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Chast is at the top of her candid form, delivering often funny, trenchant, and frequently painful revelations—about human behavior, about herself—on every page." —David Small, author of Stitches 

"Never has the abyss of dread and grief been plumbed to such incandescently hilarious effect. The lines between laughter and hysteria, despair and rage, love and guilt, are quavery indeed, and no one draws them more honestly, more . . . unscrimpingly, than Roz Chast." —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home  

"Roz Chast squeezes more existential pain out of baffled people in cheap clothing sitting around on living-room sofas with antimacassar doilies in crummy apartments than Dostoevsky got out of all of Russia’s dark despair. This is a great book in the annals of human suffering, cleverly disguised as fun." —Bruce McCall, author of Bruce McCall's Zany Afternoons

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

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.

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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sollte jeder Lesen 11. Juli 2014
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Wenn man seine alten Eltern verloren hat, wird man sagen: Ja genauso war es. Wenn sie noch leben: ja genauso wird es sein. Und wenn man selber langsam alt wird: geniess jeden Tag, Gevatter Tod kommt nicht auf leisen Sohlen im Schlaf.
Ein fantastischer Comic, ein Lehrbuch, ein Lesespass, nicht wegzulegen vor dem Ende, manche Dinge kann man mit Bildern besser sagen als mit Worten. Und trotz des traurigen Themas kann man schmunzeln und sich daran freuen die Geschichte von Roz' Eltern zu lesen.
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51 von 53 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Our parents lives...and ours? 9. Mai 2014
Von Jill Meyer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Cartoonist Roz Chast has written/drawn a book about her parents' final years, "Can't We Talk About Something Pleasant?". In it she describes both her own upbringing - only child, born late-in-life to older and neurotic parents - and how her feelings as a child hindered her dealing with the parents as they aged. She is certainly not alone in her mixed-up emotions towards her parents; most of us have the same feelings. Roz Chast can just express them better.

This is a difficult book to read. It must have been excruciating to live through and then put down on paper. But it is a book that all us "boomers" (hate the word but what else is there? "Lunch meat in the sandwich generation"?) should read. Because I'm not sure too much is going to change when we reach our 80's and 90's. We tend to have fewer children - Roz was an only child, as I noted above - and so fewer people to share the burdens of us as we age. Will we be put in Assisted Living "places" with the alacrity we seem to be putting our own parents into? For the record, both my parents died in nursing homes where they received excellent care.

Roz Chast's parents - George and Elizabeth - lived well into their 90's. And they aged "together". They tried to take care of themselves and each other in their dingy Brooklyn apartment, but it came the time to get them the extra care they could no longer give themselves. Roz describes how going through her parents' vacated apartment was like going through a junk store haven. And she shows photographs - as well as using her drawings - to show how crowded the apartment truly was.

The reader may come away thinking Roz had conflicted feelings about her parents. She sure did and she was certainly entitled to those feelings. I laughed a bit in parts, but I was able to appreciate her words and deeds because I had frequently felt the same way with my own parents, particularly as they aged. As death took the Chasts - two years apart - Roz seemed to have come to terms with these strange people who had given birth and raised her.

Chast's book is a very "personal" book which will resonate with a lot of people.
74 von 79 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Should be required reading 7. Mai 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I inhaled this last night. As if she had written about me and my family, down to the pictures of her parents' "work areas" and the drawer of jar lids. I would hope that later generations have a different story, but for a certain demographic, this book should be required reading. You are not alone.
41 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "The Wheel of Doom" and gallows humor about some grossly brutal truths. 28. Mai 2014
Von David Kusumoto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
* As I write this, my 83-year-old dad is withering away in an assisted living facility, riddled with Alzheimer's. Sometimes I want my Dad to die now - because he's unaware of his suffering - and he'd cuss me out if he knew he is turning into what Roz Chast's mother describes as "a pulsating piece of protoplasm." I feel guilty feeling this way - but "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" makes such forbidden thoughts feel normal.

* (BTW, don't buy the Kindle version. This title, with its colorful cartoons and photos - as well as its handsome construction as a hardcover book - truly belongs on your coffee table. I sampled the Kindle version, didn't like it, and bought the hardcover.)

* This book feels weirdly clairvoyant. It exposed my doubts, fears and paradoxical feelings about watching my parents die slowly before my eyes. I've read almost everything about the subject of aging and dying. And yet this is the first book that captures the exhausting experience of caring for aging parents, e.g., that it's sometimes gross - (see passages about hoarding, incontinence and "grime") - AND funny - (see "The Wheel of Doom" and Roz Chast's father's obsession with myriad bank books, decades old).

* The author's hand-wringing about whether there's going to be enough money to pay for her parents' care is spot on. How long will the money last if they live "X" more years vs. "Y" more years? I do these calculations every month, constantly updating and trying to prepare for the worst. If the daily care and feeding of your parents doesn't kill you - then the avalanche of paperwork and legal stuff that must be done - will.

* Hence despite the preference to "talk about something more pleasant," if nothing else, this book demonstrates why planning for our parents' end-of-life care must begin NOW - not later.

* I recommend this book for every person who's on the brink of going insane about their aging parents. Give it to caregivers, give it to your siblings, give it to anyone who hates dark subjects - but who can handle them if they're presented in a disarmingly funny style that's accessible - yet still honest. (I don't think I can read another "text-only" book about the "death spiral" of aging parents.)

* In sum, "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" takes the hard edges off some things while inflicting blunt-force traumas about others. Roz Chast nails the impending death of our parents in a way that feels like a landmark work. I know such praise sounds silly given the sea of excellent books out there about aging. But I've never seen this subject presented in an original, humorous and touching way, complete with hand-drawn illustrations and color photos. It avoids the trap of being overly optimistic, forcing us to confront the gruesomeness of mortality - while STILL providing an emotional "lift" about something universal.

* This book makes going through one of the darkest periods of my life - feel almost worth it.
50 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Last Stop- 8. Mai 2014
Von Lucy Stone - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Whatever happened to those giveaways from banks; the blenders, toasters, clocks etc.? Roz Chast finds them in her parent's closet. Ancient supersize jars of petroleum jelly, a drawer of jar lids, a "museum of old Schick shavers" and all the detritus of a life. This book is for anyone-especially baby boomers-who have lived through the "golden years" and final decline of their elderly parents. Ms Chast, through her drawings and prose, has given us a poignant, informative and yet surprisingly humorous account of that inevitably stressful and frightening time. I found myself smiling even while my eyes teared up-so glad I found this book. What will our children find when our time comes-will they keep our ashes in their closets and is that a comforting thought?

Highly recommend- once you've read this, put it on your coffee table and bookmark pages to share with friends-they'll appreciate it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen "Kleenex Abounding," for sure 10. Mai 2014
Von JustMe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Everything in this book is perfection, right down to the chapter titles (see above). Having been through the death of one parent and the decline of the other over the past year, I thought this book might be too much to bear... But it was laugh out loud, cry a little, then laugh again, punctuated by hand-flies-to-mouth gasps of recognition, and, ultimately, comfort. Nobody puts words and images together like Roz Chast.... She can do more with one panel than others do in pages.

If you can find humor in the uncomfortable and have an aging parent, or plan on aging yourself, this book is for you.
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