One of the top graphic novels of the first half of 2014 is surely Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
Anyway, I was checking on Amazon, and I see it’s the #1 graphic novel and in the top 100 in books and has been for a few days, so, while this doesn’t mean thousands of copies, it does indicate solid sales. I’m not surprised to see this book find an audience but I am pleased that it has done so. It’s definitely gotten a ton of mainstream press, and glowing reviews in major outlets.
There’s a pretty good preview of the book up at Paste, if you haven’t seen it. Here’s one page that made me laugh out loud, and it’s also a good indicator of just what a great storyteller Chast is. Although the book is wordy, and the narrative somewhat episodic, the art supports and amplifies the words in a natural, flowing (and of course hilarious) way. Even RC Harvey would like this book.
The subject of aging parents is a little genre to itself in comics. There’s Joyce Farmer’s Special Exits
and Carol Tyler’s peerless You’ll Never Know Trilogy. I’m told that there is a Spanish graphic novel called Arrugas (Wrinkles) by Paco Roca on the same subject that is the Maus of Spain in that it broke through literary boundaries to become a bestseller—60,000 copies, a HUGE amount in the market—and even got made into an animated movie (poster below). So clearly there is a lot of interest in this subject…even when we would rather read about something more pleasant.