David Sedaris

David Sedaris

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.

David Sedaris is the author Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, each of which became a bestseller. There are a total of seven million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages. He was the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. Sedaris’s pieces appear regularly in The New Yorker and have twice been included in “The Best American Essays.” His newest book, a collection of fables entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (with illustrations by Ian Falconer), was published in September 2010.

He and his sister, Amy Sedaris, have collaborated under the name “The Talent Family” and have written half-a-dozen plays which have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center, and The Drama Department in New York City. These plays include Stump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Shoe, which received an Obie Award, Incident at Cobbler’s Knob, and The Book of Liz, which was published in book form by Dramatists Play Service. David Sedaris’s original radio pieces can often be heard on This American Life, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced by WBEZ. David Sedaris has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album. His most recent live album is David Sedaris: Live For Your Listening Pleasure (November 2009).

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Little, Brown, 2013

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).

 


Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
A Modest Bestiary
(Little, Brown and Co., 2010)

Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.


David Sedaris
Live For Your Listening Pleasure
(Vinyl Record: Hachette Audio, 2010)

Live recordings brought to the comfort of your very own den via this quality 12-inch LP, a 33 1/3 RPM vinyl pressing.

SIDE A: "Author, Author"
SIDE B: "Innocence Abroad"

Every purchase of this unique collector's item comes with a special code that entitles the bearer to the modern convenience of a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the entire 75-minute unabridged audiobook, including additional stories "Cat and Baboon," "Laugh Kookaburra," and "Diary Entries."

If you were lucky enough to have caught a performance on David Sedaris's most recent sold-out, 34-city tour, you already know that David Sedaris Live For Your Listening Pleasure is a must-have album! If you didn't hear it live and in person, then you're in for a treat-hilarious brand-new recordings from performances in Denver, New York, Durham, LA, and Atlanta, in one convenient collection.

From the bold feral rabbits of his French backyard to the eating habits of a carnivorous bird Down Under, Live For Your Listening Pleasure takes listeners on a veritable tour of natural wonders, beginning with a fable, "Cat and Baboon," and moving on to the peculiarly American habitat of the "big-box" store.


New York Times Best Seller
When You Are Engulfed in Flames

(hardcover: Little, Brown & Company, 2008)
(audiobook: Hachette Audio, June 3, 2008)

"David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art" (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.

Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).


Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules
edited and introduced by David Sedaris
(paperback: Simon & Schuster, 2005)

From the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim comes a collection of the short stories David Sedaris loves most. Containing the work of both contemporary and classic writers, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited and introduced by Sedaris, gives his legions of fans a glimpse at the writing he finds inspiring - and helps them discover the truth abut loneliness, hope, love, betrayal, and certain, but not all, monkeys.

David Sedaris fell in love with short stories while living in Odell, Oregon. Sedaris writes, ""When apple-picking season ended, I got a job in a packing plant and gravitated toward short stories, which I could read during my break and reflect upon for the remainder of my shift. A good one would take me out of myself and stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit."" Featuring such notable writers as Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Lorrie Moore, and Joyce Carol Oates, readers will reconnect with classics, as well discover fantastic but lesser-known writers. Included in Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules are: Introduction by David Sedaris, "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" by Richard Yates, "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter, "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri, "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, "Half A Grapefruit" by Alice Munro, "Applause, Applause" by Jean Thompson, "I Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting" by Frank Gannon , "Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out" by Patricia Highsmith, "The Best of Betty" by Jincy Willett, "Song of the Shirt, 1941" by Dorothy Parker, "The Girl with the Blackened Eye" by Joyce Carol Oates, "People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk" by Lorrie Moore, "Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor, "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" by Amy Hempel, "Cosmopolitan" by Akhil Sharma, "Irish Girl" by Tim Johnston, "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff, and Epilogue by Sarah Vowell "Borrowing."

The book's name, from an Adriaen van der Werff painting, "Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules," is David Sedaris's attempt to share his passion for short stories with a wider audience -- and his enthusiasm is contagious. "The authors in this book are huge to me, and I am a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow. 'Pint sized Fanatic Bowing Before Statues of Hercules' might have been more concise, but people don't paint things like that, and besides, it doesn't sound as good." David Sedaris is publishing this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York. All of his proceeds, after permission expenses, from Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules will benefit this organization designed to help students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. In the book's epilogue, Sarah Vowell describes the fine work done by 826NYC.


Me Talk Pretty One Day
(Paperback: Back Bay Books, 2001)

David Sedaris became a star autobiographer on public radio, onstage in New York, and on bestseller lists, mostly on the strength of SantaLand Diaries, a scathing, hilarious account of his stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's. (It's in two separate collections, both worth owning, Barrel Fever and the Christmas-themed Holidays on Ice.) Sedaris's caustic gift has not deserted him in his fourth book, which mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood in North Carolina, his bizarre career path, and his move with his lover to France.

Though his anarchic inclination to digress is his glory, Sedaris does have a theme in these reminiscences: the inability of humans to communicate. The title is his rendition in transliterated English of how he and his fellow students of French in Paris mangle the Gallic language. In the essay, "Jesus Shaves," he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. "It is a party for the little boy of God," says one. "Then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber," says another. Sedaris muses on the disputes between his Protestant mother and his father, a Greek Orthodox guy whose Easter fell on a different day.

Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mom and absurd alienation from his IBM-exec dad: "To me, the greatest mystery of science continues to be that a man could father six children who shared absolutely none of his interests." Every glimpse we get of Sedaris's family and acquaintances delivers laughs and insights. He thwarts his North Carolina speech therapist ("for whom the word pen had two syllables") by cleverly avoiding all words with s sounds, which reveal the lisp she sought to correct. His midget guitar teacher, Mister Mancini, is unaware that Sedaris doesn't share his obsession with breasts, and sings "Light My Fire" all wrong -- "as if he were a Webelo scout demanding a match." As a remarkably unqualified teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, Sedaris had his class watch soap operas and assign "guessays" on what would happen in the next day's episode. It all adds up to the most distinctively skewed autobiography since Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia. The only possible reason not to read this book is if you'd rather hear the author's intrinsically funny speaking voice narrating his story. In that case, get Me Talk Pretty One Day on audio.


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim 
(Little, Brown, 2004)

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters.
He goes on vacation with his family.
He gets a job selling drinks.
He attends his brother's wedding.
He mops his sister's floor.
He gives directions to a lost traveler.
He eats a hamburger.
He has his blood sugar tested.

It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives — a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.


David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall
(audiobook: Time Warner Audio Books (2003)

If you are driving, pull over. If you are at work, close your door-unless you don't mind your colleagues seeing you doubled over, in tears, on your office floor. With this CD, taped before a delirious sold out audience at Carnegie Hall, you are there as David Sedaris performs new stories from his upcoming book. A parrot who mimics an ice maker, lovers quarreling over a rubber hand, and a Santa Claus who moonlights from his job as bishop of Turkey -- the cast of characters in these stories is like no other. This new work will appeal to David's loyal fans as well as admirers of the classic comedy albums of George Carlin, Bill Cosby and Steve Martin.


Naked
(paperback: Little, Brown, 1998)
(audiobook: Hachette Audio abridged, 2001)

"Perchance, fair lady, dost thou think me unduly vexed by the sorrowful state of thine quarters? These foul specks, the evidence of life itself, have sullied not only thine shag-tempered matt but also thine character. Be ye mad, woman?"

In Naked, David Sedaris's message -- alternately rendered in "Fakespeare," Italian, Spanish, and pidgin Greek -- is the same: pay attention to me.

Whether he's taking to the road with a thieving quadriplegic, sorting out the fancy from the extra-fancy in a bleak fruit-packing factory, or celebrating Christmas in the company of a recently paroled prostitute, this collection of memoirs creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world. It takes Sedaris from his humiliating bout with obsessive behavior in "A Plague of Tics" to the title story, in which he is finally forced to face his naked self in the mirrored sunglasses of a lunatic. At this soulful and moving moment, he picks potato chip crumbs from his pubic hair and wonders what it all means.

This remarkable journey into his own life follows a path of self-effacement and a lifelong search for identity, leaving him both under suspicion and overdressed.


Barrel Fever
(Paperback: Little, Brown, 1995)
(Audiotape: Time Warner Audio Books, 1998)

A collection of stories and essays based upon Sedaris's own experiences and the hidden perversity that can be found in Anytown, U.S.A. Here are images and blasphemies that nice people don't dare look at--blatantly exposed and told with the clear, casual voice of intimate knowledge. Sedaris' humor is born of compassion and his tales range from the sharing of cheery Christmas letters featuring infanticide, to experiences of the Gay and Famous (Charlton Heston and Elizabeth Dole, for example), to the lives of siblings named Hope, Faith, Charity and Adolph and to alcoholics and chain smokers you can laugh with.

NOTE: The audiotape includes a combination of previously unpublished material and stories from the original book that turned Sedaris into a bestselling author. Here, listeners will laugh out loud as a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery, a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world, and a teenage suicide attempts to incite a lynch mob at her own funeral.


Holidays on Ice
 (Audiotape: Time Warner Audio Books, 1997)

Holidays on Ice is a collection of three previously published stories matched with three newer ones, all, of course, on a Christmas theme. David Sedaris's darkly playful humor is another common thread through the book, worming its way through "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" a chipper suburban Christmas letter that spirals dizzily out of control, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a vicious theatrical review of children's Christmas pageants. As always, Sedaris's best work is his sharply observed nonfiction, notably in "Dinah, the Christmas Whore," the tale of a memorable Christmas during which the young Sedaris learns to see his family in a new light. Worth the price of the book alone is the hilarious "SantaLand Diaries," Sedaris's chronicle of his time working as an elf at Macy's, covering everything from the preliminary group lectures ("You are not a dancer. If you were a real dancer you wouldn't be here. You're an elf and you're going to wear panties like an elf.") to the perils of inter-elf flirtation. Along the way, he paints a funny and sad portrait of the way the countless parents who pass through SantaLand are too busy creating an Experience to really pay attention to their children. In a sly way, it carries a holiday message all its own. Read it aloud to the adults after the kids have gone to bed. --Ali Davis

SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
When You Are Engulfed in Flames

From Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Sedaris's sparkling essays always shimmer more brightly when read aloud by the author. And his expert timing, mimicry and droll asides are never more polished than during live performances in front of an audience. Happily, four of the 22 pieces are live recordings, and listeners can hear Sedaris's energy increase from the roaring, rolling laughter of the appreciative audience. Sedaris's studio recording of his 10-page
 "Of Mice and Men" runs 16 minutes, while the live recording of "Town and Country," which runs the same length in print, expands to 22 minutes thanks to an audience that often doesn't let him finish a sentence without making him pause for laughter to subside. The studio recordings usually begin with an acoustic bass and brief sound effect (a buzzing fly, the lighting of a cigarette, the clinking of ice in a drink, etc.). Sedaris's brilliant magnum opus, "The Smoking Section" (about his successful trip to Tokyo is quit smoking) stretches across the final two CDs. 
-- Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Booklist
With essay collections such as Naked (1997) and Me Talk Pretty One Day(2000), Sedaris kicked the door down for the “quirky memoir” genre and left it open for writers like Augusten Burroughs and Jeannette Walls to mosey on through. Sometimes the originators of a certain trend in literature are surpassed by their own disciples -- but, this is Sedaris we’re talking about. When it comes to fashioning the sardonic wisecrack, the humiliating circumstance, and the absurdist fantasy, there’s nobody better. Unfortunately, being in a league of your own often means competing with yourself. This latest collection of 22 essays proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he’s also getting better. True, the terrain is familiar. The essays “Old Faithful” and “That’s Amore” again feature Sedaris’ overly competent boyfriend, Hugh. And nutty sister Amy can be found leafing through bestial pornography in “Town and Country.” Present also are Sedaris’ favored topics: death, compulsion, unwanted sexual advances, corporal decay, and more death. Nevertheless, Sedaris’ best stuff will still -- after all this time -- move, surprise, and entertain. 
--Jerry Eberle 

From Entertainment Weekly
"The preeminent humorist of his generation...His reluctant charm and talent for observing every inch of the human condition remain intact."
Whitney Pastorek

From People
"What makes Sedaris's work transcendent is its humanity: He adores some truly awful people, yet he invests them with dignity and even grace.... He's the best there is."
-- 
Judith Newman


SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
When You Are Engulfed in Flames

From Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Sedaris's sparkling essays always shimmer more brightly when read aloud by the author. And his expert timing, mimicry and droll asides are never more polished than during live performances in front of an audience. Happily, four of the 22 pieces are live recordings, and listeners can hear Sedaris's energy increase from the roaring, rolling laughter of the appreciative audience. Sedaris's studio recording of his 10-page
 "Of Mice and Men" runs 16 minutes, while the live recording of "Town and Country," which runs the same length in print, expands to 22 minutes thanks to an audience that often doesn't let him finish a sentence without making him pause for laughter to subside. The studio recordings usually begin with an acoustic bass and brief sound effect (a buzzing fly, the lighting of a cigarette, the clinking of ice in a drink, etc.). Sedaris's brilliant magnum opus, "The Smoking Section" (about his successful trip to Tokyo is quit smoking) stretches across the final two CDs. 
-- Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Booklist
With essay collections such as Naked (1997) and Me Talk Pretty One Day(2000), Sedaris kicked the door down for the “quirky memoir” genre and left it open for writers like Augusten Burroughs and Jeannette Walls to mosey on through. Sometimes the originators of a certain trend in literature are surpassed by their own disciples -- but, this is Sedaris we’re talking about. When it comes to fashioning the sardonic wisecrack, the humiliating circumstance, and the absurdist fantasy, there’s nobody better. Unfortunately, being in a league of your own often means competing with yourself. This latest collection of 22 essays proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he’s also getting better. True, the terrain is familiar. The essays “Old Faithful” and “That’s Amore” again feature Sedaris’ overly competent boyfriend, Hugh. And nutty sister Amy can be found leafing through bestial pornography in “Town and Country.” Present also are Sedaris’ favored topics: death, compulsion, unwanted sexual advances, corporal decay, and more death. Nevertheless, Sedaris’ best stuff will still -- after all this time -- move, surprise, and entertain. 
--Jerry Eberle 

From Entertainment Weekly
"The preeminent humorist of his generation...His reluctant charm and talent for observing every inch of the human condition remain intact."
Whitney Pastorek

From People
"What makes Sedaris's work transcendent is its humanity: He adores some truly awful people, yet he invests them with dignity and even grace.... He's the best there is."
-- 
Judith Newman


SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall
(audiobook: Time Warner Audio Books (2003)

From AudioFile
Fans get a preview of Sedaris's next essay collection in this live performance. As he draws from a mix of recent Esquire submissions and new book material, this recording has an even lighter feel than his previous one. Family, fashion, and fake arms aren't safe from his eccentric, hilarious observations. "Six to Eight Black Men," an essay on Holland's Christmas customs, will send listeners into hysterics. Expect Sedaris's signature style -- nasal, easy to listen to, and entertaining, especially when he does his deadpan delivery of astonishingly funny lines. This is a real treat for old fans, and an inexpensive introduction for new ones. 
J.M.S. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine


SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
Naked

From The New York Times Book Review
I recently made the mistake of reading David Sedaris while I was eating lunch. Fortunately, I was alone in my office, so there were no witnesses when I spewed a mouthful of pastrami across my desk. Not one of the 17 autobiographical essays in this new collection failed to make me crack up; frequently I was helpless.
-- Craig Seligman

From Booklist
Readers familiar with Sedaris' hilarious National Public Radio commentaries will hear his distinctive radio voice in their minds as they read his newest collection of wicked autobiographical writings, but few if any of these unnervingly frank, cynical, and explicit tales are suitable for the airwaves -- and therein lies their power. As Sedaris chronicles the low points of his life, from his suffering as a boy from debilitatingly compulsive behavior (licking light switches, counting steps) to his earliest, terrifying intimations of his homosexuality, to some near-death hitchhiking experiences, he goes further than he's ever gone before, leaving his readers breathless with laughter and wide-eyed with wonder at his daring both out in the world and on the page. A self-described "smart-ass," Sedaris is a gifted satirist with an uncanny knack for re-creating dialogue and revealing fantasies. And his targets are always worthy: people of wretched insensitivity and prejudice, be it sexual or racial. Brutally honest and brilliantly eloquent, Sedaris is positively tonic. 
-- Donna Seaman 

Copyright© 1997, American Library Association. All rights reserved.

From Kirkus Reviews
In this collection of essays, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris tops his anarchically hilarious miscellany, Barrel Fever (1994), by inventing a new genre: autobiography as fun-house mirror. From the first sentence ("I'm thinking of asking the servants to wax my change before placing it in the Chinese tank I keep on my dresser''), Naked pretty well clobbers the reader into dizzy submission. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., Sedaris had disruptive nervous tics that only disappeared once he took up smoking, which, "despite its health risks, is much more socially acceptable than crying out in tiny voices.'' The author volunteered at a mental hospital and spoke solely in Shakespearean English for a spell. One Christmas his sister brought home a coworker who moonlighted as a prostitute: "From this moment on, the phrase `ho, ho, ho' would take on a whole different meaning.'' Sedaris's best humor is generally rooted in misery: At college he befriended "a fun girl with a degenerative nerve disease'' and confined to a wheelchir, with whom he successfully shoplifted (no one stopped them) and hitchhiked (everyone stopped for them); he astutely illuminates the weird mixture of altruism and vanity that motivated him to become his friend's caretaker. Sedaris's extensive resume of hitchhiking trips and dire jobs has provided him with an absurd array of distressing incidental characters, like the belligerent, legless Jesus freak for whom he worked making jade clocks in the shape of Oregon. The author's wisecracking mother emerges as a full-blown comic heroine, and the essay discussing the months before her death achieves a brilliant synthesis of solemnity and humor. Only at the end, when describing a visit to a downscale nudist camp, does Sedaris disappoint, as he seems to have gone on the jaunt solely to acquire filler material. Sedaris applies the same deadpan fastidiousness to his life that Charlie Chaplin applied to his shoe in The Gold Rush -- this is splendid stuff.
-- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
Barrel Fever

From Whole Earth Review 
. . . refreshing, enlightening and hysterically funny . . .

From Booklist
Sedaris' sardonic wit will already be familiar to listeners to National Public Radio's Morning Edition, but the venom he exposes in these pages proves he is more than a cuddly curmudgeon. Here he lets loose with a devastating comic ire worthy of Dorothy Parker. Demonstrating low tolerance for human foibles, his misanthropic humor is vindictive and nasty. More than once it crosses the line of good taste, but it's also extremely, relentlessly funny. The short stories in this collection dwell on themes of domestic hell and self-delusion as dysfunctional families tear each other apart and losers refuse to see how pathetic they are. The essays, some of which have in different form been heard on radio, effectively and humorously detail the seeming contemporary cultural conspiracy to destroy the individual. His "Santaland Diaries," which depicts his experiences working as an elf at Macy's during the winter holiday season, in particular is a minor classic. 
-- Benjamin Segedin
Copyright© 1994, American Library Association. All rights reserved
.

SELECTED REVIEWS FOR
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim 
(Little, Brown, 2004)

Amazon.com Audio Review
It just isn’t fair: most of us would be lucky to be able to express ourselves in writing half as well as David Sedaris does in his new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. But on top of his skills with the written word, the author also has substantial gifts as a performer, and he proves this on the audio version of the book. In his essay, "The Change in Me," Sedaris remembers that his mother was good at imitating people, and it’s clear that he takes after her. Whether he’s doing impressions of high-voiced brother Paul, or recalling times when he and his sisters tried to win good karma by speaking and acting like well-behaved, fairytale children, Sedaris’s nuanced performance hits the right note on both the opening, comedic stories, and the more poignant essays that tend to come later in the reading. In fact, for those who have already read some of the best stories in other publications includingThe New Yorker, the CD or cassette version of this collection is probably the best bet for furthering your appreciation of the material.

Sedaris’s career is closely linked with two things: audio (he was discovered by NPR’s Ira Glass), and the personal lives of himself and his family. In Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, he describes fights with his boyfriend, and his sister-in-law’s difficult pregnancy. When sister Lisa complains about the stories involving the family, he writes about that, too. Sedaris's latest provides more evidence that he is a great humorist, memoirist and raconteur, and readers are lucky to have the opportunity to know him so well. Perhaps they are luckier still not to know him personally.
-- Leah Weathersby

From Publishers Weekly
In his latest collection, Sedaris has found his heart. This is not to suggest that the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other bestselling books has lost his edge. The 27 essays here (many previously published in Esquire, G.Q. or the New Yorker, or broadcast on PRI's This American Life) include his best and funniest writing yet. Here is Sedaris's family in all its odd glory. Here is his father dragging his mortified son over to the home of one of the most popular boys in school, a boy possessed of "an uncanny ability to please people," demanding that the boy's parents pay for the root canal that Sedaris underwent after the boy hit him in the mouth with a rock. Here is his oldest sister, Lisa, imploring him to keep her beloved Amazon parrot out of a proposed movie based on his writing. ("'Will I have to be fat in the movie?' she asked.") Here is his mother, his muse, locking the kids out of the house after one snow day too many, playing the wry, brilliant commentator on his life until her untimely death from cancer. His mother emerges as one of the most poignant and original female characters in contemporary literature. She balances bitter and sweet, tart and rich — and so does Sedaris, because this is what life is like. "You should look at yourself," his mother says in one piece, as young Sedaris crams Halloween candy into his mouth rather than share it. He does what she says and then some, and what emerges is the deepest kind of humor, the human comedy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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