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Mumbai New York Scranton: A Memoir Hardcover – March 12, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

On a trip to India with her husband, Jason Fulford (the book’s photographer), well-known cook and New York Times illustrator Shopsin contracts what she believes to be a terrible case of food poisoning. But she soldiers on through the rest of trip, touring villages and odd museums, like a garden made entirely out of thread. Back in New York, her illness doesn’t go away, and she struggles to discover what’s going on. Her diagnosis is blindsiding, and she masterfully evokes that same feeling of surprise for the reader. Despite the dire circumstances, Shopsin’s dry, staccato sentences are very funny: “Dr. Schorr comes in. He looks so much like Sigmund Freud it has to be on purpose.” Her irreverent illustrations and pithy, whimsical writing complement each other perfectly as Shopsin recounts details that, though not providing a lot of emotional depth on their own, together limn a creative, playful, wry and resourceful woman in a crisis. Shopsin’s compelling and unconventional memoir is terrifying until you realize that, since she’s writing about it, there has to be a happy ending. --Sarah Hunter

Review

"I've been trying to eat my way through Shopsin's menu and realize it's going to be a lifetime endeavor. Now Tamara, Kenny Shopsin’s daughter, has written a sprawling travel memoir that ranges all over the planet and which I finished the same day I started reading. Slinging simple declarative sentences that hide sounding depths, and speaking in a quiet voice that you realize too late is the hum of a jet engine, you'll race to Mumbai and back before you have time to process the ride. But oh man will the memory linger." (Patton Oswalt author of Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland)

“Shopsin tells us this story in a terse, true manner. A beautifully illustrated memoir full of love, with no bullsh*t.” (Maira Kalman, author of And the Pursuit of Happiness and The Principles of Uncertainty)

“Sometimes a friend gives you a piece of writing and you are terrified to read it because what if it turns out your friend is a terrible writer? This was a particular concern with Tamara Shopsin, for not only is she a friend, but a brilliant designer, illustrator, cartoonist, and short order cook whose work in all these areas have long delighted and inspired me. So I am very relieved to report that MUMBAI NEW YORK SCRANTON is as virtuosic as her pancakes, which is to say: perfect, meaningful, and astonishing.” (John Hodgman, author of That is All)

“Tamara Shopsin writes like she illustrates—wry and succinct, with judiciously placed punch. She scatters Hansel and Gretel-style crumbs of fantastic, compelling memoir in woods of travelogue. Mumbai, New York, Scranton is muscular, efficient, understated, and surprising.” (Gabrielle Hamilton author of Blood, Bones and Butter)

"This (true) story is as dramatic as they come, complete with twin sister, eccentric father and the love of a good man. But because Shopsin is so fundamentally uninterested in being flashy, she gets our attention by not trying to get our attention. Mumbai New York Scranton gathers momentum secretly, accruing emotion entirely through food, art, furniture and the achingly mundane details that any survivor will recognize. Could not. Put. It down." (Miranda July author of No One Belongs Here More Than You and It Chooses You)

"A charming, rewarding,and unusual narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

"Shopsin’s dry, staccato sentences are very funny. Her irreverent illustrations and pithy, whimsical writing complement each other perfectly as [she] recounts details that… together limn a creative, playful, wry and resourceful woman in a crisis. Shopsin’s compelling and unconventional memoir is terrifying until you realize that, since she’s writing about it, there has to be a happy ending." (Booklist)

"[Shopsin's] wholly original work defies categorization. Brimming with observations, details, snippets of conversations and photographs by her husband, Jason Fulford, Mumbai New York Scranton is funny, intimate and dear. Shopsin has a laser-like focus for specificity...[her] eye for detail turns the mundane into the sublime and make you want to partake of any adventure she might embark on." (CampusCircle)

"Some memoirs are about travel. Others are about surviving a bigger-than-life family. Many of them are about illness, and the rare memoir gives readers a private glimpse of a marriage that's also a creative partnership. Just like one of the fabled items from her father's menu...Shopsin's memoir does them all. Her spare, present-tense narration is interspersed with her drawings...and Fulford's eerily composed photographs...building a larger world through association. Text and image work together in a marriage of complements. Reading the memoir feels like eavesdropping on Shopsin and Fulford as they collaborate." (New York Times Book Review)

"Mumbai New York Scranton is a fresh, engaging memoir...written in an episodic, stream-of-consciousness style. [Shopsin's] descriptions of life with [her husband] Jason are especially sweet and affecting, while what unfolds after their return to New York is harrowing and tense. Her portrayal of her quirky family, is vivid and loving; as an urban social history spanning the generations, it is sheer pleasure. A terrific and winning memoir, a love letter to a city and a family. Shopsin can add writing to her list of talents along with drawing, crafting, cooking and her egg-cracking prowess." (Shelf Awareness)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451687419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451687415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Andrews on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There are beautiful moments in this memoir of a woman juggling intense physical symptoms, a curiosity of the world, and the love of her career and family. Tender and simple descriptions of moments with her husband are beautiful and the best writing is in these snippets. Now we can add writer to the list of her talents which already include visual and culinary artistry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Dylan Rivis on December 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Following my (Netflix) viewing of the documentary 'I Like Killing Flies' I came across Kenny Shopsin's talented, illustrator, author and Dad's sidekick cook and twin daughter, Tamara Shopsin's awesome land and life travelogue/Blog on paper cum diary entitled 'Mumbai, New York, Scranton'. It's a book which ought to have been prefaced by Paul Theroux, author of the starkly, refreshingly honest 'The Pillars of Hercules' , a litany of the true horrors (and a few joys) of a circumnavigation of today's Mediterranean. Whether it was Tamara's style, honesty (especially her willingness to share her 'vulnerabilities' during a worrying and painful time), humor, commentary, all of the above and more, this is the only book that, as far as I can recall, that I've never been able to put down until it was finished. You'll probably end up feeling Tamara is family
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MJ Peltier on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this for the second time- within a month of reading it the first time. I NEVER do that with a book. Shopsin's illustrations, photos and writing work seamlessly together, to create one of the most unique books I have ever read. Her writing is so very present. She inspires me to stop and really look at life- our relationships, where we live, people around us, food, and on - with lots of curiosity, generosity and then humor automatically follows. I love her sensibility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leeseh on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a few jarringly intense reads, this was just what I needed: A gently written memoir that allows you to know it's author, the code writer/cook/designer Tamara Shopsin and her photojournalist husband Jason Fulford. There are photos and illustrations tossed in and her style is very much like an open journal. Simple, sparse but well chosen words glided me along. Now here's the deal: you MUST see the documentary about her family's infamous NYC restaurant Shopsins. The doc is called I LIKE KILLING FLIES and gives you all the backstory you'll need to understand a deeper dimension of this cool little book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This begins as a South India travel diary, becomes a medical detective story and a memoir of love, family and work. The photos are by Jason Fulford; the illustrations and brief text are by Tamara Shopsin. Their daily life: their work together as illustrators, their choices of meals, their commute between Scranton and NY, are full of creativity, love and consideration for one another. Shopsin writes deadpan, sometimes with humor, always without drama, complaint. I admire her voice, there's honesty and a kind of grace in it. Despite the medical emergency which brings an urgency to the volume, there's a slow cooking joy throughout which makes this a very satisfying read.
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By A. Lewis on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The title caught my eye.

A great variety of topics and feelings in a brief, quick, entertaining and moving read.

NYT said: "Some memoirs are about travel. Others are about surviving a bigger-than-life family. Many of them are about illness, and the rare memoir gives readers a private glimpse of a marriage that's also a creative partnership. Just like one of the fabled items from her father's menu (look up "mac 'n' cheese pancakes" online some time), Shopsin's memoir does them all."
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully poetic look at Tamara Shopsin's travels and unlikely battle with illness. It's unlike any book that I've ever read before, and Shopsin deftly manages to say a lot in few words with the addition of some beautiful photographs. If you enjoy memoirs and can appreciate graphic design, I recommend this book, and I hope that the author writes a follow-up!
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By Richard Weiner on July 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
TAMARA SHOPSIN WRITES AS IF SHE IS HAVING A CONVERSATION DIRECTLY WITH YOU. NO FANCY WORDS ... SHE IS THE REAL MCCOY ... ADDING HER SMALL DRAWINGS THAT SHOW BEYOND HER WORDS, SHE CAN DRAW AND IS A PROFESSIONAL CHEF.

CHARMING. KEEP GOING, I WANT MORE TAMARA, I WANT TO TELL HER.
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