Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin, one of my favorite authors, has a witty view of life to simultaneously lift my spirits while connecting me to his cynical view.  Having related to Tepper in Tepper Isn’t Going Out and laughed through his Travels with Alice as well as innumerable articles in The New Yorker, I had avoided his love letter to his dead wife, Alice, until one of my book clubs picked “About Alice” for a discussion. Unknown-2  The shorter version appeared in The New Yorker, published in 2006 – Alice, Off the Page.

In an interview for the New York Times  By the Book Trillan cites “About Alice,” the book he wrote about his wife who died in 2001, waiting for a heart transplant, as his most personally meaningful.  He also listed books that have “broken through {his} resistance to the magical,” with, not surprisingly, another famous humorist’s book in the collection of his favorites (mine too) – Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader.

The New York Times offered a review of “About Alice” in 2007 – Scenes from a Marriage.

Peter Stevenson writes: 

“This book can be seen as a worthy companion piece to other powerful accounts of spousal grief published in the last decade: Joan Didion’s tale of John Gregory Dunne’s fatal heart attack, John Bayley’s memoir of Iris Murdoch’s decline from Alzheimer’s and Donald Hall’s narration of Jane Kenyon’s death from leukemia.”

Since Alice’s death on September 11, 2001, Trillin has continued to write books and articles.  The last one I laughed over was his candidate for the scariest word in the English language – upgrade.  I could relate – maybe you can too?

“As the upgrades increase in frequency, I can imagine a future when, with the latest upgrade, I can’t find anything at all…With the upgrade to my smartphone, the podcasts I used to listen to are lost somewhere in the ether around West Virginia.”

Related Review:

Tepper Isn’t Going Out

 

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When You Need a Good Laugh

If today is your birthday, you share it with one of my favorite authors – Calvin Trillin.

Known for his humorous views published in The New Yorker essays, Trillin has also written books with that same flavor…the one I most like is

Tepper Isn’t Going Out  – read my review –  here

I would often read one of  Trillin’s essay, and then follow up with the topic expanded in one of his books.  Trillin wrote about his wife in  “Alice, Off the Page,” in the March 27, 2006 issue of The New Yorker; in his short book,  About Alice, a tribute to his wife after her death, he retains his familiar wry take on life.

Trillin has a new book – Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin – an anthology of his best.  I have it on my wish list for Santa.

Happy Birthday!  Keep smiling.