Mumbai New York Scranton

Tamara Shopsin, Author
Tamara Shopsin. Scribner, $24 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-8741-5
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 03/12/2013
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4516-8743-9
Hardcover - 978-1-4516-8742-2
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Graphic designer, illustrator and short-order cook Shopsin can now add author to her résumé. The author chronicles a bumpy year in her life with brisk, brief paragraphs: her trip with her husband to India; her work as a short-order cook in the family restaurant, Shopsin’s, in Manhattan; the couple’s life in Scranton, Pa., as freelancer designers; and weathering a serious illness. Diarylike entries are punctuated by Shopsin’s spare drawings and her husband’s photographs. During their trip to India, Shopsin seemed to be suffering with a nasty stomach ailment. Sick and stuck in the bathroom, Shopsin writes she couldn’t stop puking, yet she nevertheless observes that the elaborate embroidered hot water bottle covers provided by hotel staff remind her of props from Little Women. On her father’s penmanship: “My dad used to handwrite the specials on a dry erase board at our restaurant. He would add and delete items weekly with nail polish remover. I still think of his handwriting as smudged capital letters.” Initially Shopsin’s style is a bit jarring, as if you were reading idle jottings lifted haphazardly from a journal. What could have become merely an amalgamation of keen observations, Shopsin has instead spun into a charming, rewarding, and unusual narrative. (Mar.)
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