TOO SOON TO TELL by Calvin Trillin


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 The prolific New Yorker journalist and gourmand collects the best from the last four years of his syndicated column--a healthy dose of common sense and amiable cynicism. A Kansas City native, Trillin (Deadline Poet, 1994, etc.) smartly balances midwestern aw-shucks shtick with his cracker- barrel wise-guy persona. After warning readers not to take him too seriously, Trillin saves his harshest words for overpaid CEOs, real estate sharks, Eurotrash, the book publishing biz, the NRA, and Ronald Reagan, whose memoirs mark a triumph of history as spin control. A congenial curmudgeon, Trillin enjoys being too old to appreciate aspects of youth culture. His loyalty to the defunct minor league team from his hometown (the Kansas City Blues) is just one of his quirky pleasures, along with ``Gunga Din'' and imitating a dog's bark. Trillin delights in America at its wackiest, from the tic-tac-toe-playing chicken in NYC's Chinatown to medieval jousting restaurants in central Florida. He's always good for lots of domestic laughs as well, especially the mixed joys of living in a female-dominated household presided over by the ever-sensible Alice. He even has a soft spot for hapless George Bush, a man out of step with the times. No slouch when it comes to the failures of Bill Clinton, Trillin continues to be ``blindsided by the truth'' (i.e., reality is stranger than invention). In a crunch, the peripatetic columnist relies on weird news items from around the world, such as China's claim to have invented golf, or the story of a young man in Thailand who refused to leave his room for 22 years because his parents wouldn't buy him a motorcycle. Like any journalist worth his salt, Trillin thrills to the vagaries of language itself, especially slang and euphemism. The perfect antidote to the smirky, mean-spirited humor so popular these days. (author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-374-27846-6
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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