Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

( 14 )

Overview

A must-have for the fans of the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris, a collection of his favorite short fiction from Flannery O'Connor to Tobias Wolff.

A bestseller in its own right and a must-have for fans of the #1 bestselling author David Sedaris, a collection of his favorite short fiction.

David Sedaris is an exceptional reader. Alone in his apartment, he reads stories aloud to the point he has them memorized. ...

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Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

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Overview

A must-have for the fans of the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris, a collection of his favorite short fiction from Flannery O'Connor to Tobias Wolff.

A bestseller in its own right and a must-have for fans of the #1 bestselling author David Sedaris, a collection of his favorite short fiction.

David Sedaris is an exceptional reader. Alone in his apartment, he reads stories aloud to the point he has them memorized. Sometimes he fantasizes that he wrote them. Sometimes, when they’re his very favorite stories, he’ll fantasize about reading them in front of an audience and taking credit for them. The audience in these fantasies always loves him and gives him the respect he deserves.

David Sedaris didn’t write the stories in Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules . But he did read them. And he liked them enough to hand pick them for this collection of short fiction. Featuring such notable writers as Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, Jean Thompson, and Tobias Wolff, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules includes some of the most influential and talented short story writers, contemporary and classic.

Perfect for fans who suffer from Sedaris fever, Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules will tide them over and provide relief.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This recording of five stories from Sedaris's longer print collection of the same name is a brief but delightful audio treat. The stories vary widely in theme and style, but each is powerfully emotive and paired with an excellent narrator. Of particular note are Cherry Jones's rendition of Patricia Highsmith's farcical "Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out," and Parker's take on Amy Hempel's "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried." In the former, Jones perfectly captures the well-intentioned but ill-fated preparations of a woman who has moved to Manhattan from Ohio and is awaiting a visit from her perfectionist sister, and in the latter, Parker delivers a poignant performance of a friend's bittersweet musings on the death of her friend. Hearing Sedaris read an offbeat, deeply personal story not his own is another of this audio's many pleasures. While Sedaris has grown famous for his reading style, his earnest portrayal of youthful admiration and his spot-on characterization of a quirky substitute teacher in Charles Baxter's "Gryphon" demonstrate his range as a storyteller-and show that much more than his high pitch makes him such a distinctive voice in modern literature. Simultaneous release with the S&S paperback. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743273947
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/29/2005
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 128,888
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David  Sedaris

David Sedaris published this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York that helps students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. Sedaris is the author of the internationally bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.

David Sedaris published this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York that helps students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. Sedaris is the author of the internationally bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.

Biography

According to Time Out New York, "David Sedaris may be the funniest man alive." He's the sort of writer critics tend to describe not in terms of literary influences and trends, but in terms of what they choked on while reading his latest book. "I spewed a mouthful of pastrami across my desk," admitted Craig Seligman in his New York Times review of Naked.

Sedaris first drew national attention in 1992 with a stint on National Public Radio, on which he recounted his experiences as a Christmas elf at Macy's. He discussed "the code names for various posts, such as 'The Vomit Corner,' a mirrored wall near the Magic Tree" and confided that his response to "I'm going to have you fired" was the desire to lean over and say, "I'm going to have you killed." The radio pieces were such a hit that Sedaris, then working as a house cleaner, started getting offers to write movies, soap operas and Seinfeld episodes.

In subsequent appearances on NPR, Sedaris proved he wasn't just a velvet-clad flash in the pan; he's also wickedly funny on the subjects of smoking, speed, shoplifting and nervous tics. His work began appearing in magazines like Harper's and Mirabella, and his first book Barrel Fever, which included "SantaLand Diaries," was a bestseller. "These hilarious, lively and breathtakingly irreverent stories…made me laugh out loud more than anything I've read in years," wrote Francine Prose in the Washington Post Book World.

Since then, each successive Sedaris volume has zoomed to the top of the bestseller lists. In Naked, he recounts odd jobs like volunteering at a mental hospital, picking apples as a seasonal laborer and stripping woodwork for a Nazi sympathizer. The stocking stuffer-sized Holidays on Ice collects Sedaris' Christmas-themed work, including a fictional holiday newsletter from the homicidal stepmother of a 22-year-old Vietnamese immigrant ("She arrived in this house six weeks ago speaking only the words 'Daddy,' 'Shiny' and 'Five dollar now'. Quite a vocabulary!!!!!").

But Sedaris' best pieces often revolve around his childhood in North Carolina and his family of six siblings, including the brother who talks like a redneck gangsta rapper and the sister who, in a hilarious passage far too dirty to quote here, introduces him to the joys of the Internet. Sedaris' recent book Me Talk Pretty One Day describes, among other things, his efforts to learn French while helping his boyfriend fix up a Normandy farmhouse; he progresses "from speaking like an evil baby to speaking like a hillbilly. 'Is thems the thoughts of cows?' I'd ask the butcher, pointing to the calves' brains displayed in the front window."

Sedaris has been compared to American humorists such as Mark Twain, James Thurber and Dorothy Parker; Publisher's Weekly called him "Garrison Keillor's evil twin." Pretty heady stuff for a man who claims there are cats that weigh more than his IQ score. But as This American Life producer Ira Glass once pointed out, it would be wrong to think of Sedaris as "just a working Joe who happens to put out these perfectly constructed pieces of prose." Measured by his ability to turn his experiences into a sharply satirical, sidesplittingly funny form of art, David Sedaris is no less than a genius.

Good To Know

Sedaris got his start in radio after This American Life producer Ira Glass saw him perform at Club Lower Links in Chicago. In addition to his NPR commentaries, Sedaris now writes regularly for Esquire.

Sedaris's younger sister Amy is also a writer and performer; the two have collaborated on plays under the moniker "The Talent Family." Amy Sedaris has appeared onstage as a member of the Second City improv troupe and on Comedy Central in the series Strangers with Candy.

"If I weren't a writer, I'd be a taxidermist," Sedaris said in a chat on Barnes and Noble.com. According to the Boston Phoenix, his collection of stuffed dead animals includes a squirrel, two fruit bats, four Boston terriers and a baby ostrich.

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    1. Also Known As:
      David Raymond Sedaris (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 26, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Johnson City, New York
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Oh, Joseph, I'm so tired 9
Gryphon 37
Interpreter of maladies 57
The garden party 83
Half a grapefruit 101
Applause, applause 121
I know what I'm doing about all the attention I've been getting 141
Where the door is always open and the welcome mat is out 145
The best of Betty 165
Song of the shirt, 1941 189
The girl with the blackened eye 199
People like that are the only people here : canonical babbling in Peed Onk 213
Revelation 251
In the cemetery where Al Jolsen is buried 277
Cosmopolitan 289
Irish girl 317
Bullet in the brain 331
Epilogue : about 826NYC 339
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Customer Reviews

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( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2005

    Fills the Bill

    A dark and half-off-in-the-brain collection of some of the most BRILLIANT fiction I¿ve experienced. Hand picked by essayist David Sedaris (who also edited the collection and provides the introduction), ¿Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules¿ is an incredible literary journey. Five Stars. Two Thumbs Up. Whatever your favorite cliché is, for saying this is a ¿MUST READ¿ - it can be applied to this fun, dark, lonely, happy mix of brilliance. I also highly recommend:¿Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim¿, ¿My Fractured Life¿, and ¿Assassination Vacation.¿

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    Not impressed

    Huge DS fan which is why I even allowed myself to be tortured this far into this book. Disappointing. I would give it 0 stars if I could.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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