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Tepper Isn't Going out


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About the Author


Calvin Trillin has been acclaimed in fields of writing that are remarkably diverse. A staff writer for The New Yorker for forty years, Trillin has been called "perhaps the finest reporter in America." His antic commentary on the American scene and his books chronicling his adventures as a "happy eater" have earned him renown as "a classic American humorist."

Trillin was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. He graduated from Yale in 1957, served in the army and then joined Time magazine. After a year covering the South from the Atlanta bureau, he became a writer for Time in New York. In 1963, he became a staff writer for The New Yorker. From 1978 to 1985, Trillin was a columnist for The Nation, writing what USA Today called "simply the funniest regular column in journalism." From 1986 through 1995, the column was syndicated to newspapers. His columns have been collected in five books: Uncivil Liberties; With All Disrespect, If You Can't Say Something Nice (1987), Enough's Enough, and Too Soon to Tell. From 1996 to 2001, Trillin did a column for Time. Since 1990, Trillin has written a piece of comic verse weekly for The Nation. In 1994, he published Deadline Poet, his account of being a commentator-in-rhyme on the news of the day. Trillin's books have included three comic novels, a collection of short stories, a travel book and an account of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. His three antic books on eating -- American Fried, Alice Let's Eat and Third Helpings -- were compiled in 1994 into a single volume called The Tummy Trilogy. His memoirs include Remembering Denny and Messages from My Father, both New York Times bestsellers. Trillin lives in New York City.


Here is an odd package indeed by the noted humorist and contributing columnist to The New Yorker. It tells the story of mailing list broker Murray Tepper, a man who grabs choice parking spots on the streets of New York City and sits in the car letting the time run out on parking meters while reading newspapers. That's about all there is to it by way of an intelligible plot, and laying it out in that manner makes it sound as thin as a palm frond. However, by dint of Trillin's fertile and humorous imagination, the book emerges as a refreshing and completely likable jape. Our time-killing, newspaper-reading hero becomes the man of the hour. He is an inspiration to some, a pain in the neck to others, and a thorn in the side of the mayor, who wishes to have him prosecuted as a public nuisance. The novel is, admittedly, a trifle, but who is the reviewer to be scornful of innocent fun in this gray-skied world? For all popular fiction collections. [Sadly, Trillin's beloved wife, Alice, muse of his popular Alice, Let's Eat, died of heart failure on September 11. Ed.] A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Good for smiles, guffaws, and sometimes laughter that brings tears."
--The Boston Globe

"Beginning, middle, and end are equally charming....Nothing can take away from this novel's delight."
--The Washington Post

"[Told] with great, cranky affection [and] an irresistible way of mixing the quotidian with the absurd."
--The New York Times "Trillin is at his charmingly funny best in this good-humored satire."
--Los Angeles Times

Trillin is a highly accomplished storyteller as well as a humorist and memoirist, and this oddly titled novel is by far his funniest and sunniest yet. It's a quintessentially New York comedy (and how pleasant to see those words in conjunction again) revolving around Murray Tepper, a quiet, good-humored man whose one oddity is his passion for parking on Manhattan streets. His knowledge of arcane New York parking rules is encyclopedic, and he likes nothing better than to park legally and sit in his car reading the paper. This irritates countless other drivers who think he is about to leave a desirable spot, and the title refers to his quirky determination to stay just where he is. Paradoxically, people begin to gravitate to him, to sit with him in the car and tell him their troubles; they even line up to do so. This in turn irritates the mayor (shades here of pre-crisis Giuliani), who accuses Tepper of fomenting disorder on the streets. Such a conflict becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines, and next, of course, is the offer of a book contract and a TV show. Nothing much happens beyond this, and the plot is resolved with calm good sense, but along the way Trillin captures dozens of pitch-perfect New York moments, in restaurants, in a loutish literary agent's office and in the quaintly old-fashioned business where Tepper works (he runs a mailing-list service and is a genius at perceiving the odd connections between people, where they live and what they buy). Trillin's book is the best tonic for post-September 11 blues imaginable. Agent, Lescher and Lescher, Ltd. 8-city author tour. (Jan. 15). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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