David Sedaris’s second book — and his first to be composed entirely of autobiographical essays — Naked is the rare sophomore effort that is a truer reflection of the author than the debut. Sedaris was already known for "Santaland Diaries," his essay about working as a Macy’s elf that he read aloud on NPR. His voice is so distinctive that it became inseparable from his writing before he published anything. Sedaris is now an icon of American humor, and so it is somewhat striking to return to his early work and feel a distinct air of menace as he recounts hitchhiking across the country or volunteering in a psychiatric hospital. Still, all the hallmarks of his work are present here: he’s like a misanthropic anthropologist who populates all the spoken dialogue with a bizarre spin on Americana. And it’s hilarious. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In Naked, David Sedaris's message — alternately rendered in "Fakespeare," Italian, Spanish, and pidgin Greek — is the same: pay attention to me.
Whether he's taking to the road with a thieving quadriplegic, sorting out the fancy from the extra-fancy in a bleak fruit-packing factory, or celebrating Christmas in the company of a recently paroled prostitute, this collection of memoirs creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world. It takes Sedaris from his humiliating bout with obsessive behavior in "A Plague of Tics" to the title story, in which he is finally forced to face his naked self in the mirrored sunglasses of a lunatic. At this soulful and moving moment, he picks potato chip crumbs from his pubic hair and wonders what it all means. This remarkable journey into his own life follows a path of self-effacement and a lifelong search for identity, leaving him both under suspicion and overdressed.
"Hilariously entertaining. . . .The essays in Naked re-create the cathartic, the spiritual experience of laughing so hard that it hurts." Francine Prose, New York Observer
About the Author
David Sedaris is the author of the books Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4. He lives in England.