cover image The Best of Me: Essays

The Best of Me: Essays

David Sedaris. Little, Brown, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-62824-2

Sedaris’s brilliant knack for observational humor is on full display in this terrific retrospective essay collection (after Calypso). Culled from his previously published volumes and magazine pieces, this work focuses on the dynamics among the six Sedaris siblings and their parents (“I might reinvent myself to strangers, but to this day, as far as my family is concerned, I’m still the one most likely to set your house on fire,” he admits). Whether searching for the perfect Paris apartment with his partner, Hugh, recalling long-ago family vacations, or describing his sister Amy’s freaky encounter with a psychic, Sedaris finds ample fodder for his keen satiric sense in his life and the lives of those around him. Sedaris can take even the most serious subject—such as his sister Tiffany’s suicide—and evoke both empathy and laughter. He can also be just plain hilarious, as in “Jesus Shaves,” about a discussion of cultural differences using the limited vocabulary available to students in a beginner French class (“The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate”). This is the perfect introduction for the uninitiated, while Sedaris’s fans will enjoy rediscovering old favorites. Agent: Cristina Concepcion, Don Congdon Assoc. (Nov.)