- My Account
- Hours | Contact | Directions
- Bookstore Programs
- The Bookstore Story
- What to Read Next...
- Signed Books
- Author Notes
You are here
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
May 2014 Indie Next List
“Favorite New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has produced an intensely personal graphic memoir dealing with the last years of her parents' lives. With a mixture of wit and sorrow, Chast documents her personal travails in coping with her parents' decline and demise. For those with viable parents, this book could be used as a preparation. For those whose parents have passed, it's a gentle, reassuring, and sometime maddening reminder of those difficulties and emotions already experienced. For that difficult phase of life that we must all face, it is a tender and touching view of how one person coped.”
— Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
#1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award
Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society
In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist 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.
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; 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 shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.
About the Author
Roz Chast was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Connecticut. Her cartoons have appeared in countless magazines, and she is the author of many books, including The Party, After You Left.
"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
"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
"It is in that sense of having 'nailed it' - of providing a detailed, funny, heart breaking and true description of what it is like to care for and lose elderly patients - that this book will find its greatest impact. As points for discussion and for reflection, and as a means of reassurance, this work will offer to many the validation and support of their imperfect roles as imperfect caregivers. It is a great resource." —Kenneth Rockwood, University of Manchester, UK, Age and Ageing
"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