The Grammy-nominated author, playwright, essayist and comedian David Sedaris says he tries out his new material by reading aloud to (usually sold out) halls, then editing his work according to his audience’s laughs, or coughs, or groans. It’s appropriate, then, to hear the author himself read an excerpt from Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, his latest collection of short stories, in today’s exclusive for NOWNESS. Sedaris is renowned for his seemingly inexhaustible store of anecdotes, all of which are marked by a finely tuned radar for bizarre and usually inappropriate human behavior, informed by his suburban upbringing in North Carolina, as well as his odd jobs around Chicago and New York, drug addiction, homosexuality and current European life with his partner. In his new book, he tours the animal kingdom, presenting a series of contemporary fables in which furry protagonists are imbued with anthropomorphic angst. A squirrel and chipmunk’s inter-species romance begins to falter. A faithful Setter grapples with a not-so-faithful spouse. A toad, turtle and duck swap insults in a never-ending volley. And a baboon attempts to make social pleasantries with a cat (they don’t have much in common, besides fleas). It’s Sedaris’s eighth book since he was discovered, reading his diary in a Chicago club, by the radio host of This American Life, Ira Glass; he also pens regular amusements for The New Yorker. In today’s excerpt of the audio edition (available on CD) of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, released alongside the print version by Little, Brown on September 28, Sedaris reads "The Migrating Warblers," a story of two birds flying south to Guatemala for the winter.
Illustration by Steven Wilson at www.breedlondon.com