- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Fox, Finch & Tepper (Oct. 29 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0993046738
- ISBN-13: 978-0993046735
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
Tepper isn't Going Out Paperback – Oct 29 2015
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New York City and America's car culture smash together in Calvin Trillin's Tepper Isn't Going Out, a humorous tale of the urban quest for an open parking space. When a mailing-list broker, Murray Tepper, decides to spend his days plugging meters so he can sit in his car reading newspapers and waive off suitors hopeful of gaining his spot, little does he know that his odd behavior (even by New York standards) will set off a media buzz, provide him with cult-hero status, and incur reproach from the paranoid, dour Mayor Frank Ducavelli, who focuses on curtailing Tepper's "abuse" of the parking meter system.
Granted, the plot of this novel is quite thin, but, while not leaving you in stitches, Trillin provokes many smirks and smiles with his wit. For instance, he writes of magazines titled Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking and the potential of Spin: The Magazine of Salad Drying. When Tepper suggests that his friend Jack leave his car's flashers on while parked illegally, Jack responds:
And draw attention to myself? Not a chance. I always park in front of hydrants. The secret is to park smack in front of them rather than just too near them. You have to go all the way. If you're smack in front of them, the cop rolling down the street can't see that there's a hydrant there at all. You have to be brazen. That's my motto, in parking and in life: be brazen.Trillin's book should appeal to commuters and city dwellers everywhere, and anyone else looking for a chuckle. --Michael Ferch --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Anyone who lives or has lived in NY (or probably any city) and knows the horrors of parking there will definitely be able to appreciate the humor of Tepper's circumstances, and this is indeed a fairly entertaining book. Much of the action (if you can call it action) takes place in Tepper's car. But the humor here is very dry and understated and unless you can appreciate that you just might get a little bored reading about Tepper's parking conquests and dilemmas. Eventually, Tepper becomes a sort of local hero and celebrity, as people begin waiting for him in front of parking spots he is known to frequent. They stand in line, taking turns sitting in the passenger's seat of his car seeking advice about their lives. Tepper is a man of simple logic - in fact, listening to Tepper talk about parking is very reminiscent of Chauncy Gardner and his "metaphors" for gardening which enlighten everyone around him in Kosinsky's "Being There." And lest you think Tepper is some NYC loon, he's not. He has a family and plenty of good friends and he owns Worlwide Lists, a business that specializes in selling lists of prospects for direct-mail ordering. Ultimately, Tepper finds himself in some legal trouble as the mayor (a stand-in for Guiliani for sure) tries to stop him from parking for sport. This of course causes him greater celebrity and now he has lawyers who want to represent him, agents who want him to write a book about his life, etc.
Calvin Trillin is a longtime columnist for The New Yorker and, humorously enough, actually served as editor for an issue of "Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking." This book is light and fun and entertaining and not a bad way to spend a couple of days.
Murray Tepper is a gentle man, married, part owner of a marketing list company who enjoys driving around NYC looking for legal parking places in which to stop and read his evening paper.
By doing so, he draws the ire of NYC's mayor (named appropriately Ducavelli or "Il Duce") who hates "disorder in any form."
When Tepper naturally becomes a celebrity, people drop by his car and ask for advice: relationship, business, money, etc. The manner in which Tepper replies (or more to the point doesn't reply) to these inquiries reminds me a lot of the Peter Sellars character in "Being There" as Tepper mostly smiles and agrees and allows the questioner to work through his own question until he finds the answer himself yet hilariously credits Tepper.
It's fun to note the Trillin was also involved in a one issue magazine named "Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking."
Trillin is not out to write the Great American Novel here but nonetheless he's accomplished what few writers do: he's written about the everyday things and concerns of life and made them important enough so that we the readers exalt them. As DH Lawrence said: "Do away with masters, exalt the will of the people."
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In a nutshell, this story is about an older man who lives in Manhattan and pulls into good parking places when they are...Read more