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David Sedaris

  David Sedaris made his comic debut recounting his strange-but-true experiences of being a Macy's elf clad in green tights, reading his SantaLand Diaries on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Sedaris' sardonic humor and incisive social critique have since made him one of NPR's most popular and humorous commentators. At the end of each of his commentaries, David Sedaris was identified as an apartment cleaner in New York City. But Sedaris isn't "just a working Joe who happens to put out these perfectly constructed pieces of prose," as Morning Edition's former producer Ira Glass puts it. The great skill with which Sedaris slices through euphemisms and political correctness proves that he is a master of satire. Everywhere he goes David Sedaris delights his audience with his irreverent style and great humor.
  Me Talk Pretty One Day

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."

read an excerpt

 


  Barrel Fever : Stories and Essays A collection of stories and essays by humorist and NPR commentator David Sedaris based upon his 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... read more


  Naked Theatre folk who belong to the cult of Obie-winning playwright/performer David Sedaris must kill to get this book. These would be fans of the scaldingly snide Sedaris's hilariously described personal misadventures like The Santaland Diaries (a monologue about his work as an elf to a department store Santa) seen off-Broadway in 1997. In a series of similarly textured essays, Sedaris takes us along on his catastrophic detours through a nudist colony, a fruit packing plant, his own childhood, and a... read more

read an excerpt


  Holidays on Ice 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.


More Books by David Sedaris

 

articles and reviews
from THE NEW YORK TIMES - June 16, 2000

The Zeitgeist of Cyberspace Isn't at 59th and Lex

By Michiko Kakutini


ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY

As readers of his 1997 best seller ''Naked'' already know, David Sedaris is part Walter Mitty, part Garry Shandling, part Andy Rooney, with a little bit of Oscar Wilde thrown in for good measure: a campy commentator on the absurdities of contemporary life, a writer whose favorite subject always remains himself.

A sequel of sorts to ''Naked,'' his latest book, ''Me Talk Pretty One Day,'' amplifies the antic family portrait he created in the earlier book, while recounting his adventures in New York and Paris. Whereas ''Naked'' reads like a series of overlapping autobiographical essays, this volume feels more like a collection of magazine pieces or columns on pressing matters like the care and feeding of family pets and the travails of dining in Manhattan. But if Mr. Sedaris sometimes sounds as though he were making do with leftover material, ''Talk Pretty'' still makes for diverting reading... [more]


from THE NEW YORK TIMES - July 4, 1993

 

He Does Radio And Windows

By John Marchese


AS his celebrity sprouted this spring, David Sedaris was visited in New York by a fan from Dallas, who asked him excitedly, "What's it like to wake up in the morning and be David Sedaris ?"

On a recent hot summer morning, being David Sedaris (pronounced seh-DAR-iss) meant sticking your hand into the toilet in the Gramercy Park apartment of a personal trainer and doing a vigorous scrub. It meant washing the man's dishes and cleaning his cat's litter box, changing the sheets and vacuuming the worn carpet. Then it meant going to another apartment and doing roughly the same thing. Most mornings, Mr. Sedaris said, with his high-tech retractable feather duster sticking from his back pocket, "I'm a maid." ... [more]


from THE NEW YORK TIMES - March 16, 1997

Every Funny Family Is Funny in Its Own Way

By Craig Seligman


NAKED



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. Many of the pieces are about nutty or bizarre experiences, like volunteering at a hospital for the insane, but the funniest ones, and ultimately the saddest, have to do with the writer's family. His best character is his mother, a wicked comic with a genius for sarcasm... [more]


from BOOK PAGE- June 2000

Talking pretty with David Sedaris

INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL SIMS

Many of us still remember when we first heard the dry, droll voice of David Sedaris on public radio. He was the only person in the early 1990s more amusing than George Bush. Sedaris talked about his hilarious adventures doing such seemingly innocent tasks as cleaning New York apartments or working as a Christmas elf at Macy's. Gradually, collections of his essays appeared: Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice. With these books, Sedaris fans could keep him nearby rather than waiting for a broadcast on All Things Considered.

Fans will rejoice again, because Sedaris is back with a new laugh-out-loud collection, Me Talk Pretty One Day. The book's title, after one of the essays, records Sedaris's first official stroke of genius -- choosing to present his own garbled English translations of the garbled French uttered by students in an introductory French class. Sedaris's version is the first time this trick has worked since Mark Twain pulled it off with one hand tied behind his back... [more]

 

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