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Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays Paperback – June 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
It's probably best to read Barrel Fever AFTER you have read all of Sedaris' other works. As other 3-star reviewers note, Sedaris' more recent collections are far funnier and better crafted and stylized. If you pick up Barrel Fever and have not read Me Talk Pretty One Day, you may get the false impression that Sedaris is a so-so writer whose is variably funny and witty. I prefer to look at Barrel Fever as an early photograph of what Sedaris would eventually fully develop and polish.
Many of the stories/essays in this collection are too short to give more than a cursory glance at their subjects. When you finally get to the last work, SantaLand Diaries, you feel like Sedaris has finally reached you as a reader, and you (hopefully) will forgive the previous missteps and awkward experiments in style. Barrel Fever has plenty of funny moments, but it is simply not nearly as mature as Sedaris' later books.
Sedaris' stuff that is displayed in Barrel Fever takes a sharper aim at the shallowness, self-importance and bitterness contained in his characters than Naked and Me Talk Pretty, but the sidesplitting humor in his later works only rears its head from time to time in Barrel Fever, most notably during the near-legendary "SantaLand Diaries" story.
Sedaris is a talented writer who lets his characters grind an axe or two now and then.
I can only read such reviews in disbelief and ask myself "are we reading the same author here?"; To me, this is vintage David Sedaris...he's just as darkly funny here as he is in _Me Talk Pretty One Day_, his latest work, which I've also read. I just finished the abridged Audio version of _BARREL FEVER_ and found it just as enjoyable as his other works...all new material I'd never heard before, etc.
I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would object to the mingling of fiction & non-fiction here...David's autobiographical non-fiction is so completely weird and surreal it might as well be fiction...one hardly notices the difference.
David Sedaris is not for the faint hearted. He IS funny, but he is also gritty, brutally realistic, sardonic and unsentimental. Only his sister Amy, who now has her own bizzare show on Comedy Central (_Strangers with Candy_) is probably more "out there" than David. I love their collaborative work on these audiobook versions of his stories...including her contributions on this audiobook,_Barrel Fever_.
Sedaris' delivery is so deadpan and straightforward that you begin to believe even the most outrageous of his fictional stories MUST have autobiographical sources...of course people will stare at you if you're listening to this audiobook on a portable walkman and suddenly laugh out loud. The point is, those people would STILL stare at you if they actually HEAR what you are laughing AT. That's Sedaris' genius, in an nutshell.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a glorious and painful journey into ones dark corners. David Sedaris uses humor to combat the dullness and pointlessness of life. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Brendan Bartlett
I'm a huge fan of David Sedaris; I've read almost all his books and seen him live. But this book is so disappointing that I couldn't finish it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Katie
The Pat Parker/Vito Russo Library book discussion group met in April 2016 to read this book. It was a good sized group that had a lot to say about the stories. Read morePublished 4 months ago by H. Williams
I like some of his other books better, especially "When You Are Engulfed in Flames".Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I can't possibly portray how much I HATED this piece of trash. I WAS a big fan of Sedaris, but this book isn't worth the paper it's written on. Read morePublished 6 months ago by jcopp
i couldn't get past the first chapter. I love David Sedaris but this was just... off. The humor didn't do it for me at all.Published 7 months ago by Brooke Pash
I liked it... Not my favorite David Sedaris but definitely an appropriate end to read the week of Christmas.. My favorite are always his true to his life stories. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Arlene Mccann
I have read several of Sedaris' books recently. This is good, but NOT his best collection, I think.Published 9 months ago by T. Pitre