The Premise of Trillin’s novel is simple but ultimately genius – ‘Murray Tepper isn’t Going Out’. Having had to negotiate alternate side parking for years to keep his car on the street, Tepper’s wife has now convinced him to get a garage to park in overnight. Despite this Tepper can still often be found parked up in a ‘legal’ space to read his paper. When other drivers come past looking for a space, he tells them plainly ‘I’m not going out’. When Murray Tepper features in a newspaper and the media begin to take notice of him, his life changes considerably resulting in some humorous events.
The story, although a simple premise, is far from normal or boring. Murray Tepper’s eccentric personality and quirks create a humorous and captivating read. I was pleased to see that despite its description the plot does not stay solely in Tepper’s car but also follows him in his work and home lives – bringing with it an array of other characters to make us laugh, smile and in some cases dislike.
Alongside chapters that follow Tepper, we also meet characters that are involved in the latest Mayoral campaign for the city of New York. The two main candidates for this are both somewhat extreme in their views and actions resulting in an almost ridiculously funny race to win the role of Mayor.
Written before 9/11, Trilin’s New York is considerably more relaxed than it is today, and it has been suggested by the publisher that the book would be very different if it was written today – that is if it would have been written. The focus on something as subtle as the complexities of parking in a city as busy as New York creates a fantastically relaxed vibe from a place you wouldn’t usually expect this.
A funny, heart-warming and truly unique read. Cleverly written, easy to read and full of interesting and amusing characters.
The novel is now published in the UK by Fox, Finch & Tepper as part of Mr B’s Emporium of reading Delights – they even liked the book so much they named the company after it. Tepper Isn’t Going Out is available to buy in store or online through Mr B’s Bookshop.