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Fraud: Essays (edition 2002)
by David Rakoff
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767906314, Paperback)Let's get this out of the way: David Rakoff is not David Sedaris. When you hear him being incredibly smart and funny on This American Life, you invariably think, "Oh, it's David Sedaris." But if you listen closely, you can tell the difference. Rakoff, while no less witty or nasal, is a little more disappointed. In his first collection--a series of pieces for public radio and for various magazines--he positively revels in his world-weariness. Whether he's investigating the Loch Ness monster, attending a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, visiting a New Age retreat hosted by Steven Seagal, or just, you know, playing Freud in a department-store window at Christmastime, Rakoff tends to get comically depleted. Watching the comic Dan Castellaneta, for example, he writes, "It's a bad sign when I start counting the unused props on stage. Only two wigs, one stool, an easel, and a dropcloth to go. I begin to pray to an unfeeling God to please make Castellaneta multitask." In a piece where he attempts to climb a mountain (well... a very short hill), Rakoff immediately nips any Sierra Club fantasies in the bud: "I do not go outdoors. Not more than I have to. As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of living in New York City is indoors. You want greenery? Order the spinach." But in the end, what makes him such a terrific writer is that he's not only onto everyone else, he's onto himself. No wonder his visit to a kibbutz becomes the occasion for some supremely self-conscious amusement: "I know I sound like the Central Casting New Yorker I've turned myself into with single-minded determination when I say this, but the main problem with working in the fields is that the sun is just always shining." --Claire Dederer
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:47 -0400)
A New Yorker writes essays of wit and heartfelt prose, as a satiric fish out of water.
(summary from another edition)
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