Little, Brown. May 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780316392457. $29. LIT
The first new original collection from Sedaris in four years (after Calypso) contains essays that range far and wide in subject matter, from the 2020 presidential election to the protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd, and the pandemic lockdowns. Sedaris ponders many deep themes here: politics, racial inequality, and even natural disasters, but always adds his irreverent take on life’s most solemn moments. Lou, the Sedaris patriarch, looms large in these pages. In “Unbuttoned,” Sedaris rushes back from Europe to see his father on what everyone assumes is his deathbed even while dealing with health issues of his own. Lou surprises everyone by living a couple more years and even survives a bout of COVID, but he finally succumbs in 2021. Readers can get more clarity on the rocky relationship between father and son. Sedaris’s many fans will be reassured that he has not lost his humor or his understated pathos.
VERDICT This is Sedaris at his best, provocative and hysterical. Readers will feel like laughing even when it may feel inappropriate, much like the Sedaris family at their father’s actual deathbed. Recommended for all public libraries.
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