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Tepper Isn't Going Out
ISBN 0375758518 / 9780375758515 / 0-375-75851-8
Publisher Random House Inc
List price $13.95
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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 [via]