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sioux
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:27 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 802 Location: philly burbs
mitty and yambu - I could be wrong but I think that the talk of abuse of gretcen and amy is dramatic license. I've read all of Sedaris' work and I would find it hard to believe that anyone would be genuinely bruised in his world.
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sioux
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:30 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 802 Location: philly burbs
I can't argue this right now, but as a child of an early divorce....I was touched by the long time love story of David Sedaris' parents.
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pedersencr
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:16 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Sioux,
Re Different Book: Actually, I thought they got the wrong book jacket on my book.
Re Anger: I read the calm dispassionate apportionment of fault to his father for the breakup as indicative of displeasure with his father's behavior. Anger? Choose a word. Perhaps "wrote his father off" is a better phrase. But it does seem to me that I have read warmer reactions of children toward fathers spinning yarns and fabulating. Again, choose words. Yambu's "pipe dreams" sounds good to me. One doesn't always need to have the chosen words be SOB or equivalent to display one's negative feelings, or necessarily to use any angry words at all to betray one's inner feelings. IMO
Wait 'til we get more toward the end when an overview of the book is possible, and my own inner reactions to some of the stories are on display. And if you get a certain sense already from that sentence, then you really are understanding what I mean.
Til then,
I'll be good, Smile
Charles
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pedersencr
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:52 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Sioux,
Meanwhile, I'll do a once through to see specifically how he views his father. It is always more than possible that, writing from memory, I got something wrong, missed the nuances. And I mean that seriously, without aggressive undertone. Seriously.
Charles
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pedersencr
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Sioux,
Actually I now see there was quite a bit I did not have on my mind about Sedaris Sr. when I imputed anger to Sedaris Jr. Just as well, because none of it was complimentary. If anger isn't the word, then I think it would be quite accurate to say that the son was quite disappointed by his father and had been disappointed many times over.
Over and out Smile
Charles
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pedersencr
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:13 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Different topic: Poetic License

In this dissussion of what actually went on, or did not go on, in David Sedaris's family or life, it seems to me he slides too easily and haphazardly between too many modes of speaking. Sometimes it is the child David speaking his actually remembered childhood thoughts. Sometimes it is poetic-license-child David speaking and doing fictional poetic creaations by the now (semi-)mature David Sedaris. Sometimes, when DS slips really egregiously, it is young David in the then-context uttering grownup David's words and thoughts from his now-self.

In short I think it is almost impossible to tell what is truth and what is fiction, or when David Sedaris is actually telling the truth or when he is being poetic. Which, incidentally, I don't think is a credit to his writing. It conveys to me a suggestion that it is slipshod and that he is just slapping it together. But, then again, he lives in Paris and I don't, so he has much more justification to complain about me as a reader than I have to complain about him as an author. Very Happy

See you all in Lit Crit Smile
Charles
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yambu
Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:51 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 6441 Location: SF Bay Area
I'm still only at p.54, choosing to guage Ehle's pace and keeping just ahead. But Charles, I already see some of what you say, though for me it's too early to say whether the shift in the narrative persona is lazy or brilliant or just what. But you've pointed it out, and so I will be paying attention to it. Thanks.

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pedersencr
Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:17 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Yambu,
Yes, "lazy or brilliant or just what" is a good way to put it.
But I don't think you'll have to look too hard to notice some glaring examples, and I sure hope it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the book. It has some fantastic writing when all is said and done.
Charles
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mitty
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:13 am Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
pedersencr wrote:
Different topic: Poetic License

In this dissussion of what actually went on, or did not go on, in David Sedaris's family or life, it seems to me he slides too easily and haphazardly between too many modes of speaking. Sometimes it is the child David speaking his actually remembered childhood thoughts. Sometimes it is poetic-license-child David speaking and doing fictional poetic creaations by the now (semi-)mature David Sedaris. Sometimes, when DS slips really egregiously, it is young David in the then-context uttering grownup David's words and thoughts from his now-self.

In short I think it is almost impossible to tell what is truth and what is fiction, or when David Sedaris is actually telling the truth or when he is being poetic. Which, incidentally, I don't think is a credit to his writing. It conveys to me a suggestion that it is slipshod and that he is just slapping it together. But, then again, he lives in Paris and I don't, so he has much more justification to complain about me as a reader than I have to complain about him as an author. Very Happy

See you all in Lit Crit Smile
Charles



I don't think you could have hit the nail any more squarely upon its little head! Cool
Ditto.
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:21 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
So which nail exactly did he hit? Are you opposed to writers that don't lay out everything, every feeling, nice and neat? Or are you just opposed to writers that live in Paris?

Could be neither, but please expound because I found Charles' post to be all over the map of "Lit Crit" and you say he "hit the nail on the head".
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mitty
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:36 am Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
Ehle
Granted, I have not read the whole book yet, but what I agree with Charles about is the slipshod manner of writing, and the haphazard/unexplained skipping about.
But mostly what I dislike is the way he presents himself. The level of manipulative behavior he exhibited as such an early age is not attractive to say the least. And the fact that he presents it without a smige of apology or "well, I was young, and did not know better" attitude. All I've seen so far is a shallow, mean spirited person.

I'm hoping it gets better. Confused
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:47 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
It sounds to me like you are judging the writer on his writing style. That's fine, but I really think that Sedaris deserves more than that. Does everyone want to read people apologizing for the goofy things/horrible things that they have done as human beings? Or maybe read about someone else's mistakes, from a completely different unapologetic perspective? However, I don't think Sedaris is unapologetic. Please skip forward (since you can't stand the lineage he and his editors put forth as this compilation) to "Repeat After Me", it's on page 141, and I think you might change your mind.

If you don't want to skip ahead, that's cool too, I probably wouldn't, but, please remember this post when you get there.

And to address an even more harsh point in your post, I find Sedaris far from shallow, and hardly mean-spirited. Believe me, as a fellow gay man, I've known quite a few.
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yambu
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:48 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 6441 Location: SF Bay Area
Wade, Smooch! What a great answer/question. I'm terrificly busy, but I need to make time tomorrow to jump in on this.

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ehle64
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:49 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
mitty wrote:
Ehle
Granted, I have not read the whole book yet, but what I agree with Charles about is the slipshod manner of writing, and the haphazard/unexplained skipping about.


emphasis mine.

I also wanted to point this out. When we think or ruse about our youth, or past, do we do it chronologically? Perhaps once you finish the book the byline will be clearer. It will be an interesting thing to consider once we get there in the discussion.
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:53 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
thanks, yambu. Please jump in and jump in often.
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