Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes

07-11-14: A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast

Click image for audio link.

"...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

— Roz Chast

I hope my readers and listeners have taken the time to give a listen to the Time to Read episode with Roz Chast about her new book, 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' It's about twice as long as most and I hope readers hear a level of emotion that is unusual. It's indicative of the book and the thoughts it makes you think.

'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' is a great, pretty fun book to read, especially given that it deals with an emotionally overwhelming subject. To be sure, it was clear to me that even now, Chast, who is a consummate artist, finds the book fraught with emotion. She's still involved, and always will be. Moreover, the book is about a subject that I have experience with myself. So there is a temptation to insert myself into the interview, which I tried and (so far as I hear), managed to avoid.

Graphic novels offer an entire extra set of things to talk about, to wit, the illustrations and comics, which are not the same thing. Chast employs both and hybrids of both to excellent effect. Her style allows her to write about real life and portray it in a manner that feels real. And her sense of balance between prose and illustration, which we discussed quite specifically, is perfect.

Every writer has a unique approach to how they create. Some outline and know in advance, and other operate from a place of complete intuition. Chast is in the latter camp, and manages to be amazingly articulate about a process that by definition she herself does not necessarily easily, if at all, understand. She's able to give us verbal glimpses of a swirling creative canvas.

Chast also managed to be frank about the money. For anyone who has been in this situation, the money is a BIG DEAL. On one hand, you hope and think your parents have saved up for their retirement. On the other hand, you hate to see them spend it at an alarming rate paying someone to take care of them. And then there is the other aspect. When your parents' money runs out, the children are next in line to pay. In any event, dealing with the financial details is something of a nightmare. Chast and I managed to have a crispy, clear conversation about real money and real charges and what happens when this happens.

All of this of course, I think, takes a toll on Chast. She puts herself and her family out there in the book. Talking about things the family was uncomfortable discussing, even alone. She has reader reactions to deal with, and when you write a book of this great depth and artistry, and devote that artistry to the people you love most, reader reactions have a much different impact. An inarticulate criticism can feel like, and might indeed be, a hurtful, personal insult. This is all to say that Roz Chast is not simply a great artist; she's also a brave artist. You can hear real bravery on display by following this link to the MP3 audio file.




07-08-14 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast, 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?'

Click image for audio link.
Here's the one-hundred seventyth episode of my series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. Hitting the two(three[?])-year mark, I'm going to make an effort to stay ahead, so that podcast listeners can get the same sort of "sneak preview" effect that radio listeners get each Friday morning. This week, I'm way behind, but who knows what the hell might happen. I am hoping to get back up and stumbling. I have lots of great books in the hopper to review and lots of great interviews to podcast.

The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The one-hundred seventyth episode is a look at Roz Chast and 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Time to Read, Episode 170: Roz Chast, 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?'



New to the Agony Column

07-11-14: Commentary : Roz Chast Asks 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' : NO

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast : "...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

07-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast : Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

06-30-14: Commentary : Alan Furst Passes 'Midnight in Europe : Wrong Side of War

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alan Furst : "...certain periods are echoic..."

06-29-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 169: Alan Furst : Midnight in Europe

06-27-14: Commentary : Sarah Lotz Counts 'The Three' : The Uses of Fear

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Sarah Lotz : "...people need answers..."

06-25-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 168: Sarah Lotz : The Three

06-21-14: Commentary : Steven Galloway Conjures 'The Confabulist' : Creating Harry Houdini

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Steven Galloway : "...so much has been written about Harry Houdini..."

06-18-14: Commentary : Raymond B. Russell Heralds 'The Dark Return of Time' : An Atmosphere of Crime

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Thomas Frank on Parlor Tricks : "Off With Their Heads!"

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 167: Steven Galloway : The Confabulist

06-16-14: Commentary : Geoff Dyer Has 'Another Great Day at Sea' : The Steel Beach Party

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Geoff Dyer : "..but it was as nothing compared to the noise of planes landing..."

06-15-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 166: Geoff Dyer : Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

06-09-14: Commentary : Colson Whitehead Does 'The Noble Hustle' : Incandescent Memories of the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Colson Whitehead : "...I won five dollars, and from then on..."

06-08-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 165: Colson Whitehead : The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Deaths

06-02-14: Commentary : Kaui Hart Hemmings Explores 'The Possibilities' : Framing Life

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kaui Hart Hemmings : "I burned that copy and started fresh."

05-31-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 164: Kaui Hart Hemmings : The Possibilities

05-26-14: Commentary : Kent A. Kiehl Heeds 'The Psychopath Whisperer' : Prison of the Mind

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kent A. Kiehl : "How do you measure the cost of those sixteen homicides?"

05-21-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 163: Kent A. Kiehl, PhD : The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience

05-19-14: Commentary : Justin Go Clocks 'The Steady Running of the Hour' : Time-Crossed Lovers and Wars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Justin Go : "... there was always something that had to happen ..."

05-15-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Grants 'Authority' : The Parallax Views

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer : "...the land people don't talk to the sky people don't talk to the water people..."

05-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 162: Justin Go : The Steady Running of the Hour

05-12-14: Commentary : Matt Taibbi Views 'The Divide' : Zero-Sum Economic Morality

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi : "... the biggest bank robbery in the history of the world ..."

Commentary & Podcast Archive

Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us