IT IS a story that Roz Chast refused to tell till after her parents had passed.
It is a tale not only of eldercare, and the realities of aging, but also a poignant look at what we say (and don’t say) to our loved ones when death looms near.
Some years back, Chast told me at a comics convention that her folks had died fairly recently, and that she could now process their deaths through writing, and drawing, about the experience. It would be an eldercare memoir, and it would be a deeply personal account of how a middle-aged child can no longer deny the challenges and emotions and even industry of death.
Ever since Chast published “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” (Bloomsbury) last year, the accolades have poured forth. For her first graphic novel, she has picked up the first Kirkus Prize, and received recognition from the National Book Awards and the National Cartoonists Society (which just named her as a finalist for its Reuben Award as “outstanding cartoonist of the year”).
Now, yet again, Chast is in the winner’s circle.
Tonight, Post critic and fiction editor Ron Charles reports that Chast has just won the 2014 award for Best Autobiography at the National Book Critics Circle ceremony in New York.
And here was part of Chast’s reaction:
The other nominees for Autobiography were Blake Bailey (“The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait”); Lacy M. Johnson (“The Other Side”); Gary Shteyngart (“Little Failure”); and Meline Toumani (“There Was and There Was Not”).
The NBCC jury consists of working critics and editors of book reviews.
For more coverage, follow Ron Charles’s tweets.