Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.
In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.
With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.
Like a modern-day Aesop or La Fontaine, Sedaris has his darkly comic and deeply cynical (if somewhat rambling) morality stories enacted by animals. Although Sedaris typically narrates his works solo, here he is joined by Dylan Baker, Si n Phillips, and (the incomparable) Elaine Stritch. The dry tones of both women are particularly well suited to the knowing commentary offered by various domesticated, barnyard, and wild animals on casual racism, self-congratulatory sanctimony, poor excuses for adultery, and fad spiritualism, among other common societal ills. The audiobook features a bonus fable not available in the text version of the book; in addition, the third CD includes PDFs of the book's illustrations by Ian Falconer (writer/illustrator of the Olivia picture book series). A Little, Brown hardcover.
Adult guilty pleasures
Most of the bad reviews are from people hoping for Sedaris' usual work, but their inability to open up to this book is very sad. This collection of stories can only be described as existential Aesop, with hilarious and heart-breaking charm of which Sedaris is the master. The Judicious Brown Hen is the most memorable and arguably the most important story in this work.
Please don't be turned away by the bad reviews. No, this is not memoir, but it's an evolution of Sedaris that I welcome with open arms.
Probably the last Sedaris book I'll buy.
I really used to enjoy reading David Sedaris. His writing was funny and poignant at the same time. I began to raise my eyebrows with his last book, I just didn't find any of it funny. This 21st century take on Aesop's fables is, at times, mildly amusing and to me makes no points other than the obvious ones and does so without recognizable humor.