Author(s): David Sedaris
Welcome to the wonderful world of America's foremost humorist David Sedaris, where learning French, like life, is littered with idiosyncratic delight . . .
'The Italian was attempting to answer the teacher's latest question when the Moroccan student interrupted, shouting, "Excuse me, but what's an Easter?" The teacher called upon the rest of us to explain.
"It is a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus."
"He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with his father."
"He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."
"He nice, the Jesus."
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'Still keeps me company like a party guest who's been asked to spend the night...His essays about living in Paris are full of piss and vinegar and achingly funny.' Armistead Maupin 'Audaciously combining memoir, essay, and what has to be fiction, this fourth collection of short pieces offers pleasures normally to be found only in the best novels and the rare standup act that is actually funny.' THE NEW YORKER 'He is, simply, very funny... refusing to find anything an unfit subject for humour.' SUNDAY TIMES 'A sophisticatedly funny take on modern life. Treat yourself to this book.' IRISH TIMES 'It may well be the funniest thing you read all year.' BIG ISSUE 'The temptation when reviewing a David Sedaris book is simply to quote liberally and enviously, from his endless stock of pithy one-liners. A humourist par excellence, he can make Woody Allen appear ham-tongued, Oscar Wilde a drag.' OBSERVER 'Excellent company and relentlessly good-natured. His sophistication is spiked with self-doubt,and his insouciance has a tremor of the unhinged.' INDEPENDENT 'His collection of bite-sized morsels of life isn't unlike slipping on a warm sweater, slumping into a soft chair and slurping hot chocolate in front of a fire on a cold March evening...Damn enjoyable.' SCOTSMAN 'A comic gem to savour.' DAILY MAIL 'There's nothing macho about this book at all. That's why it's so good.' LATER 'Whatever the topic, his writing is a pleasure to read...make you laugh out loud more than any other book published this year. Absolutely wonderful.' SUNDAY TRIBUNE 'One of the laugh-out-loud funniest books of the year.' THE LIST 'Writes like the Grinch on crystal meth...Master of the shaggy dog story.' THE FACE 'The chapters on France are classic Sedaris. A gentle stroll around the absurdities of life, interspersed wih perfectly-aimed poisoned arrows.' IRISH EXAMINER 'Possibly the sharpest and funniest observer of human weakness at work today...seriously addictive stuff.' THE TIMES 'I laughed out loud in places and even had tears streaming down my eyes at the end of a chapter called the Tapeworm is In.' WOMAN'S WAY 'The author talks very pretty... Don't read this on the bus, you'll find yourself laughing out loud.' IRELAND ON SUNDAY 'Perfect for the poolside.' OK! MAGAZINE 'Observational comedy at its best- Sedaris has a wry and sardonic voice, taking delight in deflating pretensions and reserving special scorn for stupid people and American tourists. Essentially though, his outlook on the world is generous and amiable.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'A funny and intelligent strip-search of the human psyche.' ARENA 'A satirical brazenness that holds up next to Twain and Nathaneal West' NEW YORKER 'Original, acid and wild' LOS ANGELES TIMES '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 department store. 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 man whose Easter fell on a different day. Other essays explicate his deep kinship with his eccentric mother 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". Every glimpse we get of Sedaris's family and acquaintances delivers laughs and insights. He thwarts his North Carolina speech therapist ("for whom the word pen had two syllables") by cleverly avoiding all words with "s" sounds, which reveal the lisp she sought to correct. His midget guitar teacher, Mister Mancini, is unaware that Sedaris doesn't share his obsession with breasts, and sings "Light My Fire" all wrong--"as if he were a Webelo scout demanding a match". As a remarkably unqualified teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, Sedaris had his class watch soap operas and assign "guessays" on what would happen in the next day's episode. It all adds up to the most distinctively skewed autobiography since Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia.' Tim Appelo, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
David Sedaris recently moved from New York to Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner and most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy's. Several of his plays have been produced, and his essays are featured regularly on BBC radio and in THE NEW YORKER and ESQUIRE.