Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Engulfed, Anyone?

Is anyone in the book club ready to discuss Englufed? Let me know!

As of 8.28.08

I have read several of these essays before also, and so this collection left me feeling less enthusiastic than usual. Yes there were funny parts, yes I enjoy Sedaris's humor, but... to be perfectly frank, this one wasn't great, or as entertaining as previous collections. Actually, I got rather tired of hearing about his travels, and by the end, I was bored, and annoyed that I wasn't in Japan. Oh well.



The Critic said...

I'll be done with it by Monday, so hold on to your socks!

The Critic said...

whatever that means....

A. & D. said...

Piss on the both of yah's. I have yet to finish the first book. Slow it down, I have to learn physics, and how to make ethical decisions in the workplace. (not that I have a job)

The Critic said...

I think most of the essays in this book save for the last long one, "The Smoking Section" have appeared in the New Yorker previously, so the reading went fast for me for a couple of reasons.

One, David Sedaris is just fantastically easy to read. He's funny and weird in just the right measure, and the things that happen to him are sort of like the things that happen to you. Only slightly more twisted. The essay "Nuit of the Living Dead" is a perfect example. You collect all kinds of things thinking they're funny, only to one day see your life as an outsider might. It's embarrassing to realize sometimes that your life is kind of ridiculous.

Two, being already familiar with the essays, I could afford to read faster, knowing what was around each corner.

neither of these comments are a knock on sedaris at all. He always manages to put something into his collections that didn't appear elsewhere (or longer versions) so that you don't feel like you're being cheated by purchasing the one volume edition instead of keeping fifteen old magazines lying around.

he does the same thing with his audioversions, doing live readings of bits from previous books or pieces that haven't been collected before.

i'll admit, i'm a sucker for sedaris' writing and it'll be hard for me to find much to criticize. i think the title shoots for deliberate obscurity as a tweak to his editor who complained about the previous book (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim) having an obscure title. That, right now, is about the book's biggest flaw.

While many of the other previous collections have had a specific focus (his family in Dress and Naked and his life in France for Me Talk Pretty One Day), there doesn't seem to be any one particular focus for the book. it doesn't need one as such, but I wonder what prompted his writing to go in so many different directions when previously it had seemed a bit more focused.

The Critic said...

Oops. "Nuit of the Living Dead" was in the previous collection. I'd read a bunch of his stuff around the same time as this one.

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