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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary…

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (edition 2010)

by David Sedaris, Ian Falconer (Illustrator)

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Title:Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
Authors:David Sedaris
Other authors:Ian Falconer (Illustrator)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:humour, animals

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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris



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English (109)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
In a collection of short stories reminiscent of Aesop's Fables, the lives of animals are revealed to be strikingly familiar. A squirrel and chipmunk go on a date, only to be separated by the prejudices of their families. A dog recognizes the cultural chasm between himself and his wife, but remains faithful to her even after she is caught cheating. A bear loses her mother and milks the tragic situation for all that it's worth. These anthropomorphous animals are just as dysfunctional as any guest on daytime TV.

There are a couple of strong stories in the collection. “The Grieving Owl” was a touching story about a predator who allows his prey to escape if they can tell him something new. When one of his victims tells him that there is a species of leech that live only in the anus of a hippopotamus, the owl immediately sets off to see if this is true. He finds a hippo at the zoo who is more than willing to let him investigate, and they become fast friends. It's a weird story that has some very dark, funny moments – Sedaris at his best. I also enjoyed “The Motherless Bear” because I've known many women just like the title character, who goes about repeating her story of suffering because of the attention she gains, but as time passes she becomes unbearable in her self-imposed state of martyrdom.

Other stories aren't as good. I actually didn't care for “The Squirrel and the Chipmunk”, the story for which the entire collection is named. The two characters just seem so silly, the plot too predictable and pedestrian? The humor just didn't work, perhaps. “The Cow and the Turkey”, a short story in which the barnyard animals hold a Christmas party with a Secret Santa gift exchange, and the cow insists on getting the turkey's gift because she knows he is destined to be served for Christmas dinner, so she won't have to give him anything. I guess the big lesson is that if animals take on human practices, it simply reveals just how selfish and unlikeable people really are.

There's a certain mean streak that runs through Sedaris' writing, and while it's funny when directed at his own daily life, I find it grows to the point of offensive when he takes to writing fiction. I know that my brother really enjoyed this collection of stories, though, so it entirely depends on what tickles your funny bone. ( )
  makaiju | Nov 5, 2014 |
The short stories in this collection defy description except to say they are anthropomorphic in nature but the blurb above should give you a rough idea of what to expect.
I don't really know what else to add as apparently I didn't get it. I thought it was poorly written & uninteresting. Was there supposed to be a moral to each tale? Again, I guess I'm too thick to comprehend.
I had read all the hype & was really looking forward to stories featuring non-humans but in the end, the whole thing committed the ultimate sin in fiction....it was boring.
I expect reviews will range wildly as opinions will greatly reflect personal taste. ( )
  RowingRabbit | Sep 14, 2014 |
Having Elaine Stritch as a reader was a wonderfully pleasant surprise. Her reading raised the book listening experience tenfold, with a bittersweet tinge as she's no longer with us. Sedaris takes on animal fairy tales/fables with the warped mindset only he has, and they are entertaining (if a bit crude sometimes). ( )
  sriemann | Aug 11, 2014 |
Trademark offbeat and scurrilous observations from Sedaris applied to the cutesy world of animals. Stylish, rather cruel, but always ingenious: "I tried to tamp down my disappointment. How can you not want to know what your parasites are talking about? I wondered." ( )
  eglinton | Jun 21, 2014 |
Like Aesop's fables, but subtler, and with more cursing. This is actually the first book by David Sedaris that I've read, but I enjoyed it enough that I'll probably try out a few of his other books. ( )
  josh.shartzer | May 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
For the strong- stomached, these tales are toxic little treats, fun-size Snickers bars with a nougaty strychnine center. But at $21.99 for a scant 159 illustrated pages, Squirrel doesn't quite make a meal.

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Falconer, IanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316038393, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The author presents a collection of three animal-themed essays. In The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck, a group of complete strangers bitterly discuss the order of things within the animal kingdom. In Hello Kitty, a miserable alcoholic cat attends AA. In The Squirrel and the Chipmunk, two lovers are torn apart by their quarrelling families.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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