Synopses & Reviews
"As far as I was concerned, the French could be cold or even openly hostile. They could burn my flag or pelt me with stones, but if there were taxidermied kittens to be had then I would go and bring them back to this, the greatest country on earth."
David Sedaris's new collection, Me Talk Pretty One Day, tells a most unconventional life story. It begins with a North Carolina childhood filled with speech-therapy classes ("There was the lisp, of course, but more troubling than that was my voice itself with its excitable tone and high, girlish pitch") and unwanted guitar lessons taught by a midget. From budding performance artist ("The only crimp in my plan was that I seemed to have no talent whatsoever") to "clearly unqualified" writing teacher in Chicago, Sedaris's career leads him to New York (the sky's-the-limit field of furniture moving) and eventually, of all places, France.
Sedaris's move to Paris poses a number of challenges, chief among them his inability to speak the language. Arriving a "spooky man-child" capable of communicating only through nouns, he undertakes language instruction that leads him ever deeper into cultural confusion. Whether describing the Easter bunny to puzzled classmates, savoring movies in translation ("It Is Necessary to Save the Soldier Ryan"), or watching a group of men play soccer with a cow, Sedaris brings a view and a voice like none other.
"[T]he stronger chapters in this book tend to be the ones that mix satire with sentiment, brazenness with rumination. Those pieces reveal a writer who is capable not only of being funny, but touching, even tender, too." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Sedaris is Garrison Keillor's evil twin....'Reliable sources' have told Sedaris that he has 'tended to exhaust people,' and true to form, he will exhaust readers of this new book, too with helpless laughter." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
David Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's This American Life. He is the author of the books When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Barrel Fever.