David Sedaris is one of the most brilliant writers that I have come across in recent times. He is fifty-six years old and he has clearly lived a full and interesting life. But his bio on his website says only that:
David Sedaris is a playwright and a regular commentator for National Public Radio. He is also the author of the bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Dress Your Family in Corduroy, Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Me Talk Pretty One Day. He travels extensively though Europe and the United States on lecture tours and lives in France.
That’s it. But it doesn’t need to say anything else, because all his books are about him, his partner, his family, his travels, experiences and observations. Sedaris writes essays on…any subject that catches his fancy really and he does a wonderful job of it. He has a unique perspective on life and he shares it with an honestly that can can be quite disarming.
Reading a book of his is like sitting down to a conversation with an old and very dear friend. He is funny, outrageously so. He can make me laugh until my sides ache. He is witty and observant and charmingly eccentric. He pokes fun at himself and his family and the world in general. He has a fund of stories to share from his childhood, his travels abroad, living as an immigrant first in France and then in England, the pitfalls of learning a foreign language and so on.
But it is not all about fun with him. Some of the stories he tells are painful and poignant, thoughtful and moving. And he tells them so well. It is his honesty that gets me every time. You cannot possibly read a book of his and come away unaffected. The audio version of his books are even better because they are read by Sedaris himself and his voice and the way he reads his books contribute immensely to the quality of the experience.
After a very long time, I have met an author about whom I can say that I want to buy every one of his books and hoard them.