A humorist par excellence, he can make Woody Allen appear ham-tongued, Oscar Wilde a drag. Me Talk Pretty One Day collects tales from both home and abroad, and picks up from where Naked - in which he first introduced his larger-than-life Technicolor family - left off ... While there is an undeniable tang of reheated leftovers, Sedaris writes with the magnificent gusto of the neurotic, who, in overreaching their means, find solace in corkscrew hyperbole ... Sedaris is seriously funny. Too often, though, tender, introspective moments are subordinate to the reflexive tug of the grin. There may be more to life than a smart pay-off line, but for the moment Sedaris's autobiographical Chinese whispers continue to take telling tales to sublime heights.
In his best writing, David Sedaris suggests a visiting anthropologist from a distant galaxy or some future civilization, observing and chronicling contemporary life with a mixture of curiosity, disgust, and outright befuddlement. His stranger-in-a-strange-land approach succeeds without undue mean-spiritedness, because time and time again he proves more than willing to turn his spiky wit inward on himself ... While neither as laugh-out-loud funny as Barrel Fever, nor as cohesive and oddly moving as Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day nevertheless proves a worthy showcase for one of the premier humorists of our time.
His need to hang onto his neuroses permeates his fourth collection of comic pieces...an assortment of frequently very funny, too-often bland and ultimately frustrating essays ... Perversely, Sedaris doesn't recognize his own literary gold mine, probes no further and writes the essay like a sitcom treatment. Because many of the essays turn out to be inconsequential, it's all the more disappointing when he conjures one with substance and then lets it fizzle ... Collected in book form, they need some unifying thread -- subject matter, character, location or even sustained hilarity. Unfortunately, none of these is at work here. Frustratingly, except for his self-deprecation, the character of David Sedaris, though principal to just about every essay, remains elusive.
...between what catches his attention and what provokes his dyspepsia, he creates an irresistibly inviting cosmos of happenstance and obdurate will ... Many of the autobiographical sketches are merciless to their author but generous to others. He loves his scientific father, his bohemian mother, his artistic sisters and scrappy brother; he reflects on his years as a scroungy performance artist jittery on drugs; he memorializes departed family pets ... This collection is, in its way, damned by its own ambitious embrace of variety; with so many pieces assembled, the stronger ones always punish the weaker.
Sedaris is Garrison Keillor's evil twin: like the Minnesota humorist, Sedaris (Naked) focuses on the icy patches that mar life's sidewalk, though the ice in his work is much more slippery and the falls much more spectacularly funny than in Keillor's ... But in English, Sedaris is nothing if not nimble: in one essay he goes from his cat's cremation to his mother's in a way that somehow manages to remain reverent to both of the departed. 'Reliable sources' have told Sedaris that he has 'tended to exhaust people,' and true to form, he will exhaust readers of this new book, too, with helpless laughter.
The undisputed champion of the self-conscious and the self-deprecating returns with yet more autobiographical gems from his apparently inexhaustible cache ... Naughty good fun from an impossibly sardonic rogue, quickly rising to Twainian stature.