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review 2017-10-29 10:33
Muriel Spark-ish Tartness: "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons,Lynee Truss,Roz Chast
The first two-thirds of it are much funnier than the last third. Everything gets wrapped up incredibly neatly, which I suppose is the whole point, but it means there isn't a breath of air in the last pages, and you almost yearn for something to upset Flora's plans at the last minute. That said it's quite witty and clever throughout, and Stella Gibbons' sentence construction is a thing to behold: she kind of combines mid-twentieth century Muriel Spark-ish tartness with the flawless, rolling rhythm of the Victorian sentence (or something like that). I can't believe this was her first novel; it's so poised.
I did wonder why the novel is set 'in the near future' and why there's all the emphasis on flying and other kinds of technologies. Just to point up the primitiveness of Cold Comfort Farm?
I also wondered why all the emphasis on Mr. Mybug. I found his first conversation with Flora about Bramwell Bronte and his gin-swilling sisters the funniest part of the book, but it did strike me that you could remove his character completely from the book and not really make any fundamental difference to how it is constructed (apart from needing to find another husband for Rennet). I wondered was Gibbons making a certain point of contrasting the sanity and civilised values of the female author (i.e. Austen as a model for Flora to attempt to copy) with the irrationality and egotism and sex-obsessiveness of her male counterpart (Lawrence perhaps?). That's probably way over the top, but it did seem like Gibbons might have had a satirical axe to grind or perhaps somebody specific in mind in the Mybug scenes.
If you're into Mundane Literature of the Victorian kind, read on
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review 2017-02-03 00:00
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir - Roz Chast This is one of the most heartwarming books I've read in the last few years. Witty and emotional at times, Roz Chasts illustrates the life with 90-something parents and the wait for "the beginning of the journey."
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review 2016-04-08 06:33
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir - Roz Chast

It’s rare the people talk about the stage of life in which they exchange roles with their parents. This is surprising given how common it is for people to live into their eighties, nineties, or even hit the 100 year mark. In Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz Chast shares the experiences she had in her parents’ last years in her inimitable style. Chast’s story is comic and sad and frightening and very, very human...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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url 2015-01-02 02:01
Nonfiction I Liked in 2014
Fire Shut Up in My Bones - Charles Blow
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?( A Memoir)[CANT WE TALK ABT SOMETHING MOR][Hardcover] - RozChast
When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 - Ronald C. Rosbottom
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami
Ways of Seeing - John Berger
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint - Nadia Bolz-Weber
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality - Jacob Tomsky
Men We Reaped: A Memoir - Jesmyn Ward
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review 2014-11-07 02:39
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir - Roz Chast

Saw this on display at my library and grabbed it for my sister, who loves comics and nonfiction. She read it while I was in Wisconsin and I just finished it.


Outstanding book. Funny and sad and dear god, are all immigrant parents the alike in the same depressing ways?


Also, the title is a line my mother is FAMOUS for saying. Especially when my dad and I would debate politics at the dinner table. 

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