Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

by David Sedaris (Editor)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743273947
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/29/2005
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 489,349
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David 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.


London, England

Date of Birth:

December 26, 1956

Place of Birth:

Johnson City, New York


B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Table of Contents

Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired9
Interpreter of Maladies57
The Garden Party83
Half a Grapefruit101
Applause, Applause121
I Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting141
Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out145
The Best of Betty165
Song of the Shirt, 1941189
The Girl with the Blackened Eye199
People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk213
In the Cemetery Where Al Jolsen Is Buried277
Irish Girl317
Bullet in the Brain331
Epilogue: About 826NYC339

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Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
dkestler on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Some of the oddest short stories, ever!
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Now it begins, the sorting and testing of words. Remember that words are not symbols of other words. There are words which, when tinkered with, become honest representatives of the cresting blood, the fine living net of nerves. Define rain. Or even joy. It can be done.So, short stories. I do like them, but have trouble reading several by one author as they end up feeling like Faberge eggs. You know, you see one and it's exquisite. And then you see the next one and, hey, it's quite nice too, but by the third or fourth, any elements of surprise are gone and after a half dozen I'm a little bored and looking forward to the cafe. An anthology of some sort is a different matter. Each author spins their perfect little tale and then is finished. I don't become jaded with a dozen instances in a row of subdued disappointment or witty dialogue, but get to be astonished all over again with the next story. This book is a collection of short stories gathered by David Sedaris. There is the expected Dorothy Parker (Song of the Shirt, 1941), but there's also Richard Yates (Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired), Joyce Carol Oates (The Girl with the Blackened Eye) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies). Sedaris favors stories with emotional resonance over clever wordplay, and the best two stories in the book were amazing; Revelation by Flannery O'Connor and Cosmopolitan by Akhil Sharma.I loved rediscovering how a short story can compress all the emotion and heft of a novel into a dozen or so pages. I think I may start reading from all those Collected Stories of I have sitting around, but one at a time, with a few months between each story so that I can be newly astonished with each one.
rosencrantz79 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
David Sedaris's introduction to this short story collection, which he edited, is a lovely ode to reading and taste, and the way a really good story can just flatten you. "I believed, and still do," he writes, "that stories can save you." The stories included here, he says, are the "Herculai"--the literary giants that make him feel like "a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow." Among my favorites here were "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired," "Gryphon," "People Like That Are the Only People Here," and "Cosmopolitan." And--on top of a great read--when you buy this book you get to feel like a do-gooder, too; all proceeds from the sale go to 826NYC.
Oreillynsf on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Readers should be aware that this is a collection of Sedaris's favorite essays, not his own work. That said, the pieces are generally excellent, and it is interesting to get a perspective on the more serious literary side of this remarkable comedic writer.Perhaps the best aspect of this book is that his popularity will encourage more people to discover the pleasures of short stories. All this great storytelling, and the proceeds of new sales go to charity!After reading these pieces, it's easy to see how Sedaris got his inspiration for his tightly constructed comedic essays. A great read.
melydia on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A friend gave me this, as we are both Sedaris fans. None of this is his work (save the introduction, which was on par with most of his better essays), but I decided to trust his judgment and try something new. As with most collections, the stories were of varying quality.Where the Door is Always Open and the Welcome Mat is Out by Patricia Highsmith, read by Cherry Jones: Mildred is rushing around frantically to prepare for her sister Edith¿s visit. The reader was great, but the story itself was pretty boring. Maybe it was because I just wasn¿t all that interested in the characters, or maybe because all the minutia felt excessively detailed.Bullet In the Brain by Tobias Wolff, read by Toby Wherry: A fascinating little vignette that stretches out an instant of time into a fully coherent narrative, and it ended at just the right spot too.Gryphon by Charles Baxter, read by David Sedaris: A new substitute teacher with crazy ideas. Sedaris did an excellent job, which is kind of surprising since he tends to narrate in a sort of monotone, but somehow he managed to get across everything with subtle changes in pitch and inflection. Probably my favorite of the batch.In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried by Amy Hempel, read by Mary-Louise Parker: I¿ll be perfectly honest here: I had a whole lot of trouble following this one. Maybe I was just distracted, but I have absolutely no idea what it was about.Cosmopolitan written and read by Akhil Sharma: A somewhat strange tale about an older Indian man attempting to have an affair with his American neighbor. Sharma probably should not have read his own story, as his cadence tended toward the droning, but I still very much enjoyed the story, and the ending made me smile.In all, not a bad collection. These are the sorts of stories we¿d read in creative writing classes, which gave me weird flashbacks from time to time, but it was a nice break from the string of novels I¿d been listening to lately.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One if the more expensive ebooks. Sadly not much content by Sedaris himself. Feeling 2 stars expresses my disappointment and regret. Hopefully I find a B&N gift card in my future to offset this buyers remorse.
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