Interesting take on Sedaris
He's been a favorite of mine for years, and one of the few authors whose audio-book versions (but only if he is the reader)I prefer to text. This is because above all else he is a great storyteller, and I find his strange, deadpan voice the perfect instrument to play his odd, hilarious and sometimes poignant tales. It's also why I haven't read his most recent works (Calypso
or his diaries - assuming they are not one and the same).
I believe I've read every one of his books (prior to the diaries), but in the last one (name escapes me), for some reason he decided to break from his tradition and include political commentary in his storytelling. Not in a major way, but also not in a satirical way. I didn't and won't read him for polemics (no matter how mild) and it may have been simply my annoyance, but it also seemed like the quality of his storytelling had declined. Maybe he just ran out of the really good stories and can't live enough in the roughly two years between books.
In any case, I already have too great a backlog of unread books to add any from an author who has disappointed me. I may try him again at some time in the future, but I fear he may have gone stale.
Politics has nothing to do with my abandoning Stephen King. I can't say he was ever a huge favorite
, but for a long while he too was a great storyteller, and his books were a lot of fun. My favorites of his were the first books in his Dark Tower series, but it was the final Gunslinger novel that turned me completely off of King. In all ways I thought it was truly horrible.
King has always had trouble bringing a long involved story to a completely satisfying end. My theory is that once he starts a book, he just keeps writing while the ideas for it are fresh and exciting for him. When the tap starts to run dry, he gets bored and just wants to quickly make an end of it. With the Dark Tower series he took what he himself considered his opus and flushed it down the toilet. Don't want to spoil it for anyone so I won't get specific, but the conclusion to what was clearly a saga was unbelievably trite. His decision to introduce himself as a character was bizarre, conceited, and jarring. The worst of it though was the Afterward he wrote in which he pre-emptively scolded his readers who he obviously knew would be disappointed by the finale, and insisted that the absurd and sophomoric attempt to tie up all the loose ends was what he intended for the ending from the very beginning. A pathetic self-deception, in my opinion, but if it's true (and I don't believe it for one second) he isn't half the storyteller I thought he was.
For some reason, I think King became a bitter, angry man. Maybe it was the lasting effects of his terrible injuries, and or drug addiction. Maybe it was his reaction to the well going dry. Certain archtypical characters were common throughout his work: The Religious Fanatic
, The Idiot-Savant
, The Magic Negro
etc, but for a long time they were in someway comforting, like old friends. Eventually, though, it seemed as if he was just recycling:
Strange and sinister things begin to take place in a small town occupied by a Religious Fanatic, an Idiot-Savant, a Psychotic Killer, a Town Slut and a Magic Negro and eventually the whole place explodes and goes to hell (sometimes literally) with everyone killing and maiming everyone else.
I've read reviews of some of his more recent work that seem to indicate he may have got his bearings back, but he'll get no more of my money. I have not forgotten the face of my father.