Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York

Bloomsbury. Oct. 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781620403211. $28. MEMOIR
Chast's (Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?) lighthearted tribute to her hometown began as an introduction to the city for her daughter, who was headed to college there. Although a longtime suburbia resident, Chast conjures up a unique vision of New York, as fans of her New Yorker cartoons might expect. Talking standpipes, restaurants selling "gluten-free pho," the worm's nest of subway and utility tunnels beneath the sidewalk, paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art visualized with puckish word balloons, those "West Side Story things" (fire escapes)—there's nothing for Chast not to marvel over about Manhattan. "I really like density of visual information," she says, and her Big Apple cityscapes burst with jumbled buildings, oddities of every variety, and her trademark loose-edged-drawn people. This full-color prose-comics hybrid covers city layout, getting around, things to do and see, food, and apartment life.
VERDICT There are New Yorkers, New Yorker wannabes, New York visitors, and the New York curious—so expect demand for Chast's whimsical and helpful smorgasbord of urban goofiness. For another New York perspective, see Julia Wertz's Tenements, Towers & Trash (Xpress Reviews, 9/1/17). [Previewed in Douglas Rednour's "Comics Cross Over," LJ 6/15/17.—Ed.]
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