*A collection of personal essays - surprising, disarming, heartbreakingly funny - from the #1 bestselling writer Time named America's Favorite Humorist.
Daivd Sedaris lives in Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner and most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy's. He is a regular contributor to Esquire and Public Radio International, and his essays have been featured in The New Yorker and Harper's.
NPR commentator Sedaris can hardly be called a humorist in the ordinary sense. The memoirs and jeux d'esprit that make up his first book, Barrel Fever, are too personally revealing to be domestic satire, and the writer they reveal is more eccentric‘okay, weirder‘than most domestic satirists. Sedaris is instead an essayist who happens to be very funny. Only two of the pieces in this new collection, "A Plague of Tics" and "c.o.g.," match Barrel Fever laugh for laugh. The first concerns Sedaris's childhood nervous compulsions and disorders, the second his later, Northwestern vagabondage. In the other essays (some of which originated as NPR broadcasts), Sedaris aims for a subtler sort of comedy. Several pieces describe his relationship with his mother, who is clearly the source of Sedaris's earthy sense of humor. That he manages in these pages to sketch such a memorable, seductive character (and, without sentimentality, to describe her death from cancer) is a high achievement, perhaps his highest to date. Most of the other essays recount Sedaris's misadventures, emotional and vocational, such as those he experienced as a hitchhiker ("Drugs were the easy part; I carried them as a courtesy and offered them when asked. What threw me were the sexual advances. How much did they expect me to accomplish at fifty miles per hour, and why choose me, a perfect stranger? When I thought of sex, I pictured someone standing before me crying, `I love you so much that... I don't even know who I am anymore.' "). Even at his most wistful, Sedaris never loses his native taste for raunch, whether the subject is fearsome dildos or dressage at a nudist camp‘and although the book's off-color passages cannot be quoted here, Mrs. Sedaris would certainly approve. So will her son's many fans. (Mar.)
'A satirical brazenness that holds up next to Twain and Nathaneal West' - New Yorker 'Sidesplitting' - New York Times Book Review 'Genuinely funny, at time hilarious ... Makes for a smashing use of audio as a unique entertainment medium ... Highly likable and spirited throughout' - Publishers Weekly
Sedaris (Barrel Fever, LJ 5/1/94) has fashioned a funny memoir of his wonderfully offbeat life. To call his family "dysfunctional" would be enormous understatement and beside the point; Sedaris's relatives and other companions become vital characters on the page. We see his mother serving drinks to the string of teachers who want to discuss her son's compulsions to lick light switches and make high-pitched noises. We travel with Sedaris and his quadriplegic hitchhiking companion, listen to his foul-mouthed seat mate on a long bus trip, and accompany the author on a hilariously self-conscious visit to a nudist colony. Sedaris's humor is wickedly irreverent but not mean. Traveling with him is well worth it for the laughs and his generous human sensibility. Highly recommended.‘Mary Paumier Jones, Rochester P.L., N.Y.