Trillin, Calvin - Prose & Criticism
About Alice
About Alice
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 1400066158

In Calvin Trillin's antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who had "a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day" and the mother who thought that if you didn't go to every performance of your child's school play, "the county would come and take the child." Now, five years after her death, her husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-his loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, "managed to navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in."

Though it deals with devastating loss, About Alice is also a love story, chronicling a romance that began at a Manhattan party when Calvin Trillin desperately tried to impress a young woman who "seemed to glow."
"You have never again been as funny as you were that night," Alice would say, twenty or thirty years later.
"You mean I peaked in December of 1963?"
"I'm afraid so."

But he never quit trying to impress her. In his writing, she was sometimes his subject and always his muse. The dedication of the first book he published after her death read, "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice."

In that spirit, Calvin Trillin has, with About Alice, created a gift to the wife he adored and to his readers.
The Tummy Trilogy
The Tummy Trilogy
Paperback      ISBN: 0374524173

In the 1970s, Calvin Trillin informed America that its most glorious food was not to be found at the pretentious restaurants he referred to generically as La Maison de la Casa House, Continental Cuisine. With three hilarious books over the next two decades--American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; and Third Helpings--he established himself as, in Craig Claiborne's phrase, "the Walt Whitman of American eats." Trillin's three comic masterpieces are now available in what Trillin calls The Tummy Trilogy.

Killings
Killings
Hardcover      ISBN: 0399591400
True stories of sudden death in the classic collection by a master of American journalism

"Reporters love murders," Calvin Trillin writes in the introduction to Killings. "In a pinch, what the lawyers call 'wrongful death' will do, particularly if it's sudden." Killings, first published in 1984 and expanded for this edition, shows Trillin to be such a reporter, drawn time after time to tales of sudden death. But Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people's lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end. As Trillin says, Killings is "more about how Americans live than about how some of them die."

These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. Mexican American families in California hand down a feud from generation to generation. A high-living criminal-defense lawyer in Miami acquires any number of enemies capable of killing him.

Stark and compassionate, deeply observed and beautifully written, Killings is "that rarity, reportage as art" (William Geist, The New York Times Book Review).

Praise for Killings

"Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem."--The Seattle Times

"What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it's broken off."--Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

"Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel."--Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times

"The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart."--Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle

" Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics."--The Buffalo News

"In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact."--Frederick Iseman, Harper's Bazaar

"I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you're caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes. . . . It's time to pick up Calvin Trillin's Killings."--The New York Times Book Review

"Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences."--Library Journal

"With telling detail and shrewd insights, Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes."--Publishers Weekly
Travels With Alice
Travels With Alice
Hardcover      ISBN: 0899199100
Remembering Denny
Remembering Denny
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374226075

The author tries to understand why a former classmate at Yale who showed enormous promise, should have ended his own life

Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme
Deciding the Next Decider
The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme
Hardcover      ISBN: 1400068282

Displaying the form that made bestsellers of Obliviously On He Sails and A Heckuva Job, tales of the Bush Administration in rhyme, Calvin Trillin trains his verse on the 2008 race for the presidency.
Deciding the Next Decider is an ongoing campaign narrative in verse interrupted regularly by other poems, such as a country tune about John Edwards called "Yes, I Know He's a Mill Worker's Son, But There's Hollywood in That Hair" and a Sarah Palin song about her foreign policy credentials: "On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok." It covers Mitt Romney's transformation ("Mitt Romney's saying now he should have known / A stem cell's just a human, not quite grown"), the speculation about whether Al Gore was trimming down to run ("Presumably, they looked for photo ops / To see what Gore was stuffing in his chops"), the slow-motion implosion of Hillary Clinton's drive to the White House ("Some pundits wrote that Hil's campaign might fare / A little better if Bill wasn't there"), and the differing responses of Barack Obama and John McCain to the financial crisis ("Though coolness has its limitations, it'll / Prevent comparisons with Chicken Little").
Beginning at the 2006 midterms, Deciding the Next Decider resurrects the nonstarters like George Allen ("He fit what's often valued by the Right: / Quite cheerful, Reaganesque, and not too bright") and the low-energy Fred Thompson ("The pros said, 'That's a state he has to take, / And he just might, if he can stay awake' "). And it carries through to the vote that made Barack Obama the forty-fourth president of the United States.

Killings
Killings
Paperback      ISBN: 0399591893
True stories of sudden death in the classic collection by a master of American journalism

"Reporters love murders," Calvin Trillin writes in the introduction to Killings. "In a pinch, what the lawyers call 'wrongful death' will do, particularly if it's sudden." Killings, first published in 1984 and expanded for this edition, shows Trillin to be such a reporter, drawn time after time to tales of sudden death. But Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people's lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end. As Trillin says, Killings is "more about how Americans live than about how some of them die."

These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. Mexican American families in California hand down a feud from generation to generation. A high-living criminal-defense lawyer in Miami acquires any number of enemies capable of killing him.

Stark and compassionate, deeply observed and beautifully written, Killings is "that rarity, reportage as art" (William Geist, The New York Times Book Review).

Praise for Killings

"Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem."--The Seattle Times

"What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it's broken off."--Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

"Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel."--Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times

"The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart."--Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle

" Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics."--The Buffalo News

"In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact."--Frederick Iseman, Harper's Bazaar

"I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you're caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes. . . . It's time to pick up Calvin Trillin's Killings."--The New York Times Book Review

"Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences."--Library Journal

"With telling detail and shrewd insights, Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes."--Publishers Weekly
Messages from My Father: A Memoir
Messages from My Father
A Memoir
Paperback      ISBN: 0374525080

Calvin Trillin, the celebrated New Yorker writer, offers a rich and engaging biography of his father, as well as a literate and entertaining fanfare for the common (and decent, and hard-working) man.

Abe Trillin had the western Missouri accent of someone who had grown up in St. Joseph and the dreams of America of someone who had been born is Russia. In Kansas City, he was a grocer, at least until he swore off the grocery business. He was given to swearing off things--coffee, tobacco, alcohol, all neckties that were not yellow in color. Presumably he had also sworn off swearing, although he was a collector of curses, such as "May you have an injury that is not covered by workman's compensation." Although he had a strong vision of the sort of person he wanted his son to be, his explicit advice about how to behave didn't go beyond an almost lackadaisical "You might as well be a mensch." Somehow, though, Abe Trillin's messages got through clearly.

The author's unerring sense of the American character is everywhere apparent in this quietly powerful memoir, Messages from My Father.

Remembering Denny
Remembering Denny
Paperback      ISBN: 0374529744

A reissue of Calvin Trillin's memoir of his relationship with a brilliant but tragic Yale classmate that is also a rumination on social change in the 1950s and 1960s

Remembering Denny is perhaps Calvin Trillin's most inspired and powerful book: a memoir of a friendship, a work of investigative reporting, and an exploration of a country and a time that captures something essential about how America has changed since Trillin--and Denny Hansen--were graduated from Yale in 1957. Roger "Denny" Hansen had seemed then a college hero for the ages: a charmer with a dazzling smile, the subject of a feature in Life magazine, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a varsity swimmer, a Rhodes scholar...perhaps a future president, as his friends only half-joked. But after early jobs in government and journalism, Hansen's life increasingly took a downward turn and he gradually lost touch with family and old friends before eventually committing suicide--an obscure, embittered, pain-racked professor--in 1991. In contemplating his friend's life, Calvin Trillin considers questions both large and small--what part does the pressure of high expectations place on even the most gifted, how difficult might it have been to be a closeted homosexual in the unyielding world of the 1960s Foreign Service, how much responsibility does the individual bear for all that happens in his life--in a book that is also a meditation on our country's evolving sense of itself.

Tepper Isn't Going Out
Tepper Isn't Going Out
Paperback      ISBN: 0375758518

Murray Tepper would say that he is an ordinary New Yorker who is simply trying to read the newspaper in peace. But he reads while sitting behind the wheel of his parked car, and his car always seems to be in a particularly desirable parking spot. Not surprisingly, he is regularly interrupted by drivers who want to know if he is going out.

Tepper isn't going out. Why not? His explanations tend to be rather literal--the indisputable fact, for instance, that he has twenty minutes left on the meter.

But once New Yorkers become aware of Tepper, some of them begin to suspect that he knows something they don't. And an ever-increasing number of them are willing to line up for the opportunity to sit in his car with him and find out what it is.

Tepper Isn't Going Out is a wise and witty story of an ordinary man who, perhaps innocently, changes the world around him.