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Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006 Paperback – October 28, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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  • Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roz Chast was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Connecticut. Her cartoons have appeared in countless magazines, and she is the author of many books, including The Party, After You Left.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915404
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If the universe is really made up of tiny strings, as some physicists argue, the work of cartoonist Roz Chast is the first comprehensive, and comprehensible, proof.

Almost 30 years of Chast's nervous little drawings, created mainly for The New Yorker, have been collected in a ridiculously huge volume called "Theories of Everything," published by Bloomsbury. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, introduces the collection.

The book's weighty title (and weighty weight) is part of the joke. Chast's kitchen-sink characters and fussy squiggles insult the very notion of a pretentious coffee-table book. Each panel looks as if it's been crumpled up, left in the pocket of a denim jumper and sent through the wash twice. The pages swarm with balding, dot-eyed men, dowdy ladies in horn-rimmed glasses, and dumb kids with one protruding tooth. Background objects like floor rugs, lamps and couches are rendered as itchy glyphs.

Under the big-little-book joke, however, lies a big-big-book genius. Using bathwater-gray washes and tiny lines that clump like hair in a bathroom drain, Chast maps out the interstices of the human mind, the between-meals, between-shaves, between-everything hours that fill the vast majority of life.

For example, as a man watches an opera, we are privy to his innermost thoughts. "La, la, la, duck falling off a ladder...ha, ha, Ethel Merman's shoe," he muses to himself as he falls asleep. Another man sits on a couch with a thought balloon over his head: "Birth, bed, bath, beer, bankruptcy, bunions, bifocals, balding and beyond.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mix the neurosis of the young Woody Allen, the sublime-but-unexpected logic of comedian Steven Wright, the macabre wink of Gahan Wilson, the grand guignol of Charles Addams, the cleverness of the Far Side -- with just a dash of the heart-strings and plaintive cuteness of Cathy Guisewhite -- and you may have something like the outstandingly amusing cartoons of Roz Chast. Penned in a manner that suggests hands trembling constantly from too much coffee or perhaps too little electroshock therapy, there is a pervasive nervous energy in this work that, frankly, makes you want to stop looking at them after a while, in the same way that a strong vinaigrette forces you to pause between bites. You go back, of course, because it's delicious. But you can't take too much at one time.

The targets of Ms. Chast's work include just about everything and everybody you will encounter in your life and it is very unlikely there is an interpersonal relationship you are suffering through that will not be present on these pages in a way that helps you laugh at your own small worries. She also nicely deals with the blither of modern life, from retail stores to the proliferation of award categories.

Roz Chast's work is jittery and completely on-target. I recommend this book highly to those who like off-beat visual humor.
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Format: Hardcover
A genius overdose of Roz Chast, for old fans and new. This woman does, of course, know Everything, though like a good novelist or scriptwriter (or deity), she also knows how to wrap Everything in a few swathes of complication and irony to make the whole process more fun. If (or rather, when) future historians rummage among the rubble of our stab at civilization, I hope they find a pristine copy of THEORIES OF EVERYTHING (memo: buy extra copy and suitable-sized lead container to bury in garden), they will be able to piece together just about all they need to know about us. Worried, overweight men with small moustaches and clever small women with glasses were what we were about, and don't let anyone tell you any different, not now and certainly not in 3000 AD.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At last for fans of R. Chast. This book is so funny that you cannot put it down and will annoy everyone in the house by laughing out loud every 30 seconds to the exclusion of every other activity for the rest of the day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection of Roz Chast cartoons brings me great joy and delight. It's fun to watch the evolution of her particular "style" from her earlier works to recent years. All of my favorites are here (i.e. "Inside One's Memory Bank", etc.) Some people don't "get" her, and that's fine with me ("Can't come to the U.S. to buy property -- I have to finish Scrubbing This Teakettle!") She draws some of my favorite cartoon facial expressions ever and I have a secret dream of someday owning an actual cartoon she penned or seeing my likeness as drawn by Roz. Those fantasies may never happen, but in the meantime I forked over the bucks for this great big old book and am so glad that I did. Where else can I relish a world of "Bad Mom" magazine and "The kid who learned about math on the street"?
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Format: Hardcover
Roz Chast is a brilliant cartoonist, as all readers of the New Yorker know. But this large compilation--so big it will hurt your wrists--demonstrates her range and skills conclusively. A big, big helping of Chast's work in a long-lasting form; now you can take down all those clippings from the refrigerator door.
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