Lamentations of the Father: Essays

Lamentations of the Father: Essays

by Ian Frazier
     
 

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Ian Frazier's work is funny and elegant and poetic and of the highest literary aspiration, all at the same time. More serious than a gag writer, funnier than most essayists of equal accomplishment, Frazier possesses a classic originality. This collection, a companion to his previous humor collections Dating Your Mom and Coyote v. Acme, contains thirty-six pieces… See more details below

Overview

Ian Frazier's work is funny and elegant and poetic and of the highest literary aspiration, all at the same time. More serious than a gag writer, funnier than most essayists of equal accomplishment, Frazier possesses a classic originality. This collection, a companion to his previous humor collections Dating Your Mom and Coyote v. Acme, contains thirty-six pieces gathered from the last thirteen years.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Accomplished social satirist Frazier's latest collection reminds us why the novelist and essayist is one of America's funniest living writers. The much-quoted title piece, originally published in the Atlantic Monthly , gives voice to every parent's battle with table manners, bath time and various "laws, statutes and ordinances" concerning biting (don't), sand (not edible) and pets (not to be taped). Equally entertaining are Frazier's self-declared role as spokesman for crows, complete with slogan ("Crows: We Want to Be Your Only Birdaao") and his mock exposé on the truth behind history's most famous phrases. Caesar's "I came, I saw, I conquered" is, according to Frazier, simply an early example of mankind's obsession with the sound bite, a snappier version of: "I came, I saw, I conquered, I had a snack, I took a bath, and I went to bed, because I was exhausted." A treat for Frazier fanatics and new readers alike, this compilation from the past 13 years has nary a misstep and begs to be read in one sitting. Researchers, Frazier says, have determined that life is too hard. But it's easier with Frazier at the helm. (May)

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Library Journal

Written over the past several years, the 35 essays in this companion to Dating Your Mom(1985) and Coyote v. Acme(1996) are 35 more reasons to consider New Yorker contributor Frazier one of America's premier humorists. With the title piece, which has been anthologized numerous times since its 1997 publication, Frazier sets a standard of excellence for the collection from which he never wavers. "How To Operate the Shower Curtain," instructions for his houseguests, is likely to become another classic, copied and prominently placed in guest bathrooms across America. Frazier finds humor in such unexpected places as the "sudden" death of a 97-year-old man, the description by the FBI of Osama bin Laden's build as "thin," and the challenges of information overload, which require our minds to distinguish among H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Orson Welles, and Orson Bean. Each piece is a delight, proving Frazier a master craftsman and sure to leave readers trying to narrow their list of favorites. Not to be missed; highly recommended for all libraries.
—Anthony Pucci

Kirkus Reviews
Another hilarious collection from essayist/humorist Frazier (Gone to New York: Adventures in the City, 2005, etc.). A longtime New Yorker-and prolific contributor to the magazine of the same name-Frazier has previously mined the city for comic gold to share stories about his encounters with strangers and interactions with his wife and children, all filtered through his self-deprecating voice. He now lives in New Jersey, where his dry humor is used to great effect, whether he's recounting his duty as household dishwasher or noting details about the FBI poster for Osama bin Laden at the post office. This book takes its title from Frazier's 1997 essay included in the Atlantic Monthly's 150th anniversary collection of best writing. Other pieces are based on recognizable current events and pop-culture icons, such as "My Wife Liz," full of details about the author's fictional marriage to Elizabeth Taylor: "Some people say that there should be certain minimum standards you have to meet in order to qualify as an ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor's, and that I (and a few other guys) don't make the grade. Utter garbage!" Most of the 30-odd pieces are only a few pages long, offering up perfect snapshots of absurdities and imagined vignettes. The narrator of "Caught"-the coyote who was trapped for two days in Central Park in 2006-takes a Holden Caulfield approach to his new-found recognition: "If you're really interested in hearing all this, you probably first want to know where I was whelped, and what my parents' dumb burrow was like, and how they started me out hunting field mice, and all the Call of the Wild kind of crap, but I'd really rather not go into it, if that's all right with you." Frazier isa masterful comedian whose seeming lack of overconfidence not only endears him to readers but also invites identification, particularly in humiliating situations. His sense of humor is so uncanny and surprising it's nearly impossible not to be charmed. Highly entertaining.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312428358
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
905,058
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.56(d)

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