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The latest instalment from always funny, sometimes bizarre humourist David Sedaris.
Praise for Theft By Finding
The writing here is funnier, (even) sharper . . . There isn't a dull word among these pages (India Knight Sunday Times)
Could there be a more delightful American import than the memoirist David Sedaris? Not since the peanut butter and jelly sandwich have we inherited something so sweet and comforting yet so wickedly naughty (The Times)
This first of two volumes of his copious diaries takes us from 1977 to 2002, and sees him grow from a despondent
21-year-old in menial jobs into the man recognised as possibly the best humorist of the 2000s
(Daily Telegraph, Best Books Under the Sun, Summer 2017)
So often Sedaris's phrasing is beautiful in its piquancy and minimalism...His life is extraordinary in so many ways - the drug addiction, the eccentric family, the crazy jobs, the fame, the globetrotting - but one of the more unlikely achievements here is in making it all seem quite ordinary. Ultimately, his masterstroke is in acting as a bystander in his own story (Book of the Day, Guardian)
He is the American Alan Bennett - or would be, if Bennett had a history of serious substance abuse and a higher tolerance for sick humour (Times Literary Supplement)
He makes me laugh so much. In an era when US satire is outpacing our own he's a sharp, humane and hilarious voice that never fails to make you smile - and sometimes weep. Apparently effortless humour is difficult, and precious. He's the real thing (James Naughtie Radio Times)
A deadpan, darkly comical portrait of the American underbelly . . . Sedaris shares something of [Alan] Bennett's detached curiosity, and they both have a thirst for amusement (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)
It's like gossiping with an old friend - if that friend were a rather sexy American Alan Bennett with lots of good drug stories (Melissa Katsoulis The Times)
Cool, very funnv, sardonic, yet open . . . there is an echo of Truman Capote or Tennessee Williams - with extra quirk. Or even Lewis Carroll . . . one of the biggest comedy writers of his generation (Peter Bradshaw Spectator)
Just as in his essays and stories, the young Sedaris is both scandalising and scandalised, surprisingly profound, and very, very funny . . . Sedaris fans will not be surprised to know that he can do darkness and profundity as well as humour. Theft by Finding is full of all three, but what makes it so good is Sedaris's gift for sidling up them all from the least expected angle (Daily Telegraph)
Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask-or not-was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.
But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he's stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.
As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger's teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone's son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.
In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris.
With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.
David Sedaris is the author of eleven previous books, including, most recently, The Best of Me, Calypso, and Theft by Finding. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4. In 2019, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, the Jonathan Swift International Literature Prize for Satire and Humor, and the Terry Southern Prize for Humor.