Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Salon: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

I am in search of funny books. This is mainly because it has become my ambition to make people laugh. Up until now my books have reportedly made people cry, but like the very right wing sometimes turns out to be close to the very left wing, I believe that extreme misery is somehow akin to great comedy. The two set each other off, one provides the contrast and relief to the other; tragedy and comedy are closely related on the wheel of human emotions.

So today I read David Sedaris's work, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and there were chapters in the beginning that made me laugh out loud; but, as if to prove my point, there were passages that I found poignant and sad. I think he is a fearless writer, and I am really rather glad I am not related to him or know him. At one point his sister tells him a story about herself and she objects when his immediate reaction is to retrieve his notebook and start making notes. But she would never use the material he retorts, and it seemed too good a story to waste.

His humour is my favourite sort: self-deprecating, and his family and friends seem part of this self-deprecation. A lot of the humour also comes from his homosexuality and religion. I am not sure I am learning much from reading it though, because I don't think I have any chance at all at incorporating his style of humour in my own work, but I am greatly enjoying the experience nonetheless.


Anonymous Mary said...

I've read a couple of Sedaris's books, including this one, and loved them both. (The other one has a skeleton smoking on the cover - "When You Are Engulfed in Flames.")

I just finished a book - took me two days to read - called "God Is My Broker" that is a spoof on self-help books. Very funny.

Mon Aug 23, 02:40:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Mary - spoof on a self-help book - excellent idea! I must add this to the TBR pile.

Mon Aug 23, 08:10:00 am  
Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

I agree totally. All my books have a decent amount of both misery and comedy in fact I honestly believe that's another reason why I'm struggling with this current book. I'm trying to be serious, wanting to grow up as a writer, but I can't help but see the funny side in misery. In all honesty when I'm depressed (with a capital D, as I was when I wrote the first two novels) my humour improves. It's pretty deadpan but then I love deadpan comedy.

Mon Aug 23, 11:51:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ah Jim, I think I envy you - the ability to see the funny side in misery is a great one IMHO. And I love deadpan humour too.

Mon Aug 23, 07:56:00 pm  

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