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Fraudby David Rakoff
Synopses & Reviews
You've heard him on This American Life! Now read his book!
Wherever he is, David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window during the holidays, climbing an icy mountain in cheap loafers, playing an evil modeling agent on a daytime soap opera, or learning primitive survival skills in the wilds of New Jersey, Rakoff doesn't belong. Nor does he try to. Still, he continually finds himself off in the far-flung hinterlands of our culture, notebook or microphone in hand, hoping to conjure that dyed-in-the-wool New York condescension.
And Rakoff tries to be nasty; heaven knows nothing succeeds like the cheap sneer, but he can't quite help noticing that these are actual human beings he's writing about. In his attempts not to pull any punches, the most damaging blows, more often than not, land squarely on his own jaw — hilariously satirizing the writer, not the subject.
And therein lies David Rakoff's genius and his burgeoning appeal. The wry and the heartfelt join in his prose to resurrect that most neglected of literary virtues: wit.
Read the blurbs below. They signal the arrival of a brilliant new American essayist. (Okay, Canadian.)
"With Fraud, David Rakoff manages to successfully pass himself off as the wittiest and most perceptive man in the world." David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One Day
"David Rakoff's hilarious, bittersweet stories are epic struggles between smoky bars and the great outdoors, management and labor, Santa Claus and Sigmund Freud, New York versus everywhere else, and, not least, neighbor-to-the-North against South. Rakoff is such an American original it turns out he's Canadian. Vive the brain drain!" Sarah Vowell, author of Take the Cannoli
"It's hard to come up with a pithy remark for the back of this book, knowing that the author could — in half the time and a third of the words — come up with something funnier, more piercing, and more deeply revealing. Like a whore with a heart of gold, David Rakoff says all the nasty things we want to hear — and then reveals, after we've paid our money — that actually — it's all about love." Ira Glass, This American Life
"Rakoff likes to paint himself as a sneering, city-slick New Yorker, urbane to a fault, an outsider anywhere unpaved. But then, in the woods, on a mountaintop, looking for 'Hidden People' outside Reykjavik, he reveals himself, despite his searing and hilarious observations, his 'effete lexicon,' to be a completely unrelenting romantic, always looking, and often finding, experiences that edify and cleanse, people who are true and good. And while he doesn't seem to count himself among their ranks, it takes one to know one." Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
"The love child of S. J. Perelman and Elaine May, the by-blow of Benchley and Parker — without his bay window and her bad habits — David Rakoff is everything the Algonquin Table should have been." Amy Bloom, author of A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
"David Rakoff is a comic saint: He travels to unspeakable lands, chats with lunatics, and we reap the rewards. He is a sublime tour guide, an ideal mix of the crabby and the debonair." Paul Rudnick, author of Jeffrey and the screenplay for the movie "In and Out"
"To be sure, Rakoff can issue a withering snark with the best of them. But once his rapier wit has sliced the buttons off its target's clothing, revealing the quivering, vulnerable mass within, his fundamental sense of decency gets the best of him and he can't resist reaching out and helping the poor unfortunate soul get back on its feet, straighten its duds and sally forth with a heartfelt 'Don't worry, it's not you. It's me.'" Amy Reiter, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review here)
In his first collection of essays, Rakoff single-handedly raises self-depreciation to an art form as he presents an object lesson in not taking life too seriously.
About the Author
DAVID RAKOFF is a regular contributor to Salon, Outside magazine, and PRI's This American Life, and has written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, New York Observer, and many other publications. He lives in New York City.
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