a blog with cultural bulimia.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Exercises in Humiliation

Does he need any more hype? Of course not. Except he really deserves it. I can't help myself: I laugh out loud with every single chapter.
corduroyTouring Anne Frank's hideout in Amsterdam, Sedaris can think of the experience only in terms of a real estate open house. He admires the kitchen -- an ''eat-in with two windows'' -- and wonders, ''Who do I have to knock off in order to get this apartment?'' Sedaris is a careful writer, with a no-muss, no-fuss style that rarely misfires. He surely knows he is being offensive here, and the payout comes at the story's conclusion, when Sedaris spies a quotation from Primo Levi on the Anne Frank museum's wall. His conscience duly pricked, Sedaris starts wondering to himself: ''Having already survived two years in hiding, she and her family might have stayed put and lasted out the war were it not for a neighbor, never identified, who turned them in. I looked out the window, wondering who could have done such a thing, and caught my reflection staring back at me.''

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Read the first chapter

Also, the author reads a selection from the essay 'Possession,' in which the narrator gets apartment envy during a visit to Anne Frank's hideout in Amsterdam.