David Sedaris is possibly one of my most favorite authors. I've read all but one of his books, and find that the more I read about him and his life, the more enamored of him I become. In the early 2000's I had the opportunity to see him preform live in Miami, and I have to say that's one of my fondest memories. I would love the chance to see him again, and if he's ever in my area, I'm all over it! My husband and I listened to this book on audio, and it was his first time being exposed to David. I think he may have had a better time with it than I did, which is saying a lot! He's mentioned that we should definitely listen to more of Sedaris' work, which is not a problem, because I have quite a few of his books on audio just waiting for us!
This collection was similar to Sedaris' other books not only in the way the stories were delivered (deadpan) but also that it focused both on everything and nothing much at the same time. One of the things I enjoy most about Sedaris is that he can take the most mundane subjects and make them seem alive with wit and sparkle, a fact that Frank also mentioned. He has this acerbic way of delivering even the most shocking and funny things that makes me appreciate his talent all the more. When he calls his regular group of smoking companions a "foul little congress," it's not only the sentiment he makes but the delivery as well. It's the dry and unassuming way he makes pronouncements of all kinds, from the bizarre to the easily observable.
Most of this book is given over to short stories, but in the latter half he speaks mainly of his move to Tokyo, mainly to quit smoking. This section had a lot of resonance for me as I'm going through this particularly grueling ordeal myself. To hear Sedaris speak about it was both a balm and an amusement that kept me on the right track. During these segments, he also speaks of his difficulties in language school and the fact that even though he's a very studious person by nature, he's at the bottom of his class and is somewhat embarrassed by this. I found these sections not only funny, but touching, because I think a lot of people can relate to wanting to succeed and having to accept that some things are beyond your ken. As usual, Sedaris gets himself into situations that are not only unlikely, but strange, and in his attempt to explain himself, he delivers some incredible monologues.
There's really not much more to say about this little book, other than the fact that it is hilarious, and that once again, Sedaris performs like a star throughout this audio version. I sometimes think Sedaris' work is best appreciated in its audio form because it's solely read by its author, and there's no mistaking where the funny lies when David Sedaris is reading to you. Fans of Sedaris will find a lot to love in this book, and those new to him will also be pleased with this one. Highly recommended!