David Sedaris is subversive, funny, absurd and dry, and this book mostly about Christmas has some priceless gems, but I wish I'd started with one of his others first.
Having heard his live readings on BBC radio, I have come to love his wonderful and often poignant observations on the absurdities of life. His humour never fails to make me laugh, and reminds me of Tom Lehrer, with an absurdist twist. From the politics of being one of Santas Elves at Macy's to the difficulties of explaining the Easter bunny to a Muslim in French, or his fascination with autopsy reports, this book has some priceless and delicious stories.
So, why only 4 stars?
Some of the stories, (such as the Dunbar family Christmas circular), are certainly more poignant than funny - almost tragic, and his brilliant but biting cynicism sometimes left me feeling deflated. (He is at his best when being autobiographical, and with a live audience).
However, I think for me it is because this is a "collection" of assorted stories on a theme, rather than a whole book, which left me wishing I'd started with one of his more complete audiobooks.
That aside, I am off to buy another, and probably many more after that, for he is a rare talent, with an astute eye for Homo absurdus, and a genius for expressing that in humour. Don't be put off by his voice. Once you get used to his style, his delivery is impeccable, and his timing and inflection certainly add to the humour of the writing.