Literary hero worship. Let’s face it if you were going to find it anywhere on the internet it’d be on a library blog wouldn’t it? This is the first in an occasional series where I let the fan within loose, and gush about some of my favourite authors.
First up on the literary love-in is American raconteur and humourist, David Sedaris. At first glance I would seem to have little in common with this writer. He grew up in North Carolina before moving to New York, later transplanting to France. He is gay and of Greek extraction. He has a slightly high pitched voice and an art collection. But these are all superficialities. Sedaris’s writing conga-lines right through these imagined boundaries like a drunk uncle at a wedding.
David Sedaris is sardonic and insecure with a touch of the misanthrope… thus does he speak to my soul.
Which perhaps does not reflect so well on me but I don’t care because I am too busy enjoying his latest collection of stories and essays, the sedately titled When you are engulfed in flames. As always it is a strange potpourri of seemingly random vignettes, observations, and events from his own life with healthy doses of sarcasm, self-deprecation and, what is hopefully exaggeration, to make for hilarious reading.
Most of his essays originally appear in publications such as the New Yorker and Esquire and feature a bizarre cast of characters. His stories are peopled with crazy, corpulent baby-sitters, foul-mouthed taxi drivers, and possible child-molesters, not to mention his family (including pets) who do not get off lightly. He recounts his ridiculous, often awkward interactions with these folk in a way that makes you feel quite relieved that you weren’t there and are only reading it. “There but for the grace of God”, you find yourself saying.
So perhaps I don’t really want to be like David Sedaris, perhaps I only wish I could write like him because reading him is such a treat.
But don’t take my word for it, try some Sedaris yourself with the following –
- More story collections from David Sedaris – my pick is Me talk pretty one day, and if you’re feeling a bit jaded about Christmas, Holidays on ice* might be your cup of eggnog.
- David Sedaris Podcasts on NPR (National Public Radio)