Koren in the Wild, Ed Koren 2018
Ed Koren has been a Vermont resident since 1978, a volunteer firefighter in Brookfield, VT and a prodigious contributor to The New Yorker’s covers and cartoons. The author of ten previous books and 16 others which he illustrated, Koren has a new volume entitled appropriately enough ‘Koren in the Wild’ (Button Street Press, 2018). Introduced by an appreciation by Ben Cohen (of Ben and Jerry’s fame) and with an erudite preface by Howard Norman (a wonderful writer and neighbor in E. Calais, VT), the book’s nearly 200 cartoons will have you smiling knowingly, chuckling quietly, and laughing out loud as Koren pokes gentle fun at his Vermont neighbors especially those who spend part of their time in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Cambridge and other precious urban oases. Though it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite, a serious contender is the cartoon which shows a bearded guy hitchhiking on a dirt road in a New York Yankee hat accompanied by his guitar case and dog and holding a sign reading ‘Add to Cart’ as an Amish couple rides by on their horse and buggy. Another cartoon is set in a rural town’s bar where one guy with a baseball cap and a classic bushy head of hair and beard turns to another, beer in hand, and asks “Are you just pissing and moaning, or can you verify what you’re saying with data?” Koren gets us all just about perfectly, and bright lights our foibles, hang-ups, and most of all our pretensions. This is the perfect holiday gift for your Vermont friends, appropriate for the table in front of the wood stove, the nightstand next to the heavily quilted bed, or the indoor or outdoor plumbing accomodations.