THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “MEMORY IS THE SEAMSTRESS,” BY PATRICIA ALLISON AND “HETERODOXOLOGIES,” BY MATTHEW JAMES BABCOCK, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.
THE BOOK: Where to? A Hack Memoir
PUBLISHED IN: 2014
THE AUTHOR: Dmitry Samarov
THE EDITOR: Bill Savage and Naomi Huffman
THE PUBLISHER: Curbside Splendor
SUMMARY: An illustrated work memoir about twelve years driving cab in Chicago and Boston between 1993 and 2012. The book starts with the author’s very first fare and ends with his last, in between are chapters devoted to the inner workings of the cab industry and memorable customers, colleagues, and civic events. In all, it is a portrait of city life from a vantage point which will soon disappear entirely due to the taxi business’s impending doom at the hands of the ride-share racket.
THE BACK STORY: This the follow-up to Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and a summing up of the author’s cabbie career after he decided to walk away.
WHY THIS TITLE?: Where to? was what I asked anybody who got into my taxi. Hack is the old-fashioned term for a cab driver. Memoir to make sure readers realize this isn’t fiction (as they did when I included the word Stories in the title of my first book.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Anyone interested in eavesdropping on people while they’re en route to somewhere else and not paying attention. Those with interest in the city of Chicago and, to a lesser extent, the city of Boston. For those who get bored with reading the words, there are many pictures to get distracted by.
“Captures better than a surveillance camera the pureed blend of good and bad that makes up actual life.” Pete Beatty, Belt magazine
“Funny, touching, observant, philosophical, sad, world-weary, artful and wonderful are the stories that pepper this book. There has never been a cab driver like Dmitry Samarov and, since he’s given up for keeps late-night for-hire driving, there never will be.”—Rick Kogan, hall-of-fame reporter for the Chicago Tribune
“With his gorgeous pen and ink drawings and funny, tragic, and all too true stories, Samarov’s chronicle of his adventures as a Chicago taxi driver is by far the best ride you’ll ever take in a cab.”—Wendy MacNaughton
AUTHOR PROFILE: Dmitry Samarov was born in Moscow, USSR, in 1970. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1978. He got in trouble in first grade for doodling on his Lenin Red Star pin and hasn’t stopped doodling since. After a false start at Parsons School of Design in New York, he graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993. Upon graduation he promptly began driving a cab—first in Boston, then after a time, in Chicago. He no longer drives a cab. You can see more of his work than you ever bargained for at dmitrysamarov.com and subscribe to the newsletter he sends out every single Monday at tinyletter.com/samarov.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://beltmag.com/lockdown-city/
LOCAL OUTLETS: Myopic Books, Pilsen Community Books, Seminary Co-op Bookstores
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: All the usual online outlets or by contacting the author directly, should you want a signed copy.