Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hank's Got Some Advice About Reading David Sedaris' Newest Book

A new collection of essays from the #1 New York Times bestselling author who has been called "the preeminent humorist of his generation" (Entertainment Weekly).
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

Hank says:
"I have no illusions that I'm helping to get the word out about an author whose books will pretty much sell themselves, but here's what I thought of David Sedaris's forthcoming collection. It is subtitled 'Essays, Etc.', which is a good description. Many of the pieces are essays of a generally confessional nature, although you have to stop and wonder if all (or on a particularly suspicious day any!) of what is being confessed is in the strictest sense true. But life is weird, and I guess it's possible.
These are punctuated by narratives in which Sedaris adopts various personae, all essentially incarnations of the Anti-Sedaris. He gleefully lampoons them, providing plenty of rope. The book ends with a poem describing various canine hazards. 
As far as I know, David and Amy Sedaris are the only professionally humorous family members, but their sister Gretchen could probably hold her own. The essay Standing Still deals in part with the serious matter of Gretchen escaping from an assailant.  Because she lost her glasses in the struggle, she is only able to give the police a vague description. Their father, who seems to occupy the territory between Character and Jerk throughout the book, decides they can't rely on law enforcement to catch the man, and starts driving them around Raleigh to look for "a black man." Gretchen quips, 'With long pants and a white T-shirt on. Clothes he couldn't possibly have changed because they're permanently attached to his body.'
Although I did so, I can't really recommend reading #2 to Go while you're eating lunch. Some people may prefer not to read it even when they aren't! By comparison, the taxidermy content of  Understanding Understanding Owls didn't faze me, nor the colonoscopy talk of The Happy Place, and I found myself giggling out loud in public. The rest of the giggling was, as far as I know, only inside my head."

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