David Rakoff Fraud

ISBN 13: 9780553714425

Fraud

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( 8,689 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780553714425: Fraud
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Four CDs, 4 hrs.
read by the author

David Rakoff has a gift for exposing the humor and the pathos behind both cherished cultural traditions and hot social trends and obsessions. FRAUD brings together Rakoff's peerless commentaries for "This American Life," clever parodies and other pieces created for Salon, (all rewritten and updated for the book), and new essays inspired by Rakoff's most recent adventures as a peripatetic reporter.

The deep-seated belief that he is a fraud lends both a hilarious edge and a whimsical poignancy to Rakoff's writing. In "In New England Everyone Calls You Dave," an account of an assignment that requires him to don Timberlands for a trek up Mount Manadock, Rakoff is struck by the ironic realization that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in." In "Including One Called Hell," Rakoff recreates the bizarre experience of attending a weekend retreat at which action star Steven Segal imparts his wisdom on "Cultivating Compassion and Clarity." "The Best Medicine" takes listeners to the Sixth Annual U.S. Comedy Art Festival in Aspen, an event Rakoff concludes is intended to "ratchet up comedy to the status of moral virtue." Ever willing to expose his own quirks and fantasies, Rakoff also offers a delightfully revealing diary of his stint as an ersatz Freud in the windows of Barney's department store one Christmas and a candid assessment of his success as
a student at a wilderness survival school.

Like David Sedaris, Rakoff explores the odd and the ordinary events of life and brings them to life in essays that are funny, sad, piercing, and wise.

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Review:

Let's get this out of the way: David Rakoff is not David Sedaris. When you hear him being incredibly smart and funny on This American Life, you invariably think, "Oh, it's David Sedaris." But if you listen closely, you can tell the difference. Rakoff, while no less witty or nasal, is a little more disappointed. In his first collection--a series of pieces for public radio and for various magazines--he positively revels in his world-weariness. Whether he's investigating the Loch Ness monster, attending a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, visiting a New Age retreat hosted by Steven Seagal, or just, you know, playing Freud in a department-store window at Christmastime, Rakoff tends to get comically depleted. Watching the comic Dan Castellaneta, for example, he writes, "It's a bad sign when I start counting the unused props on stage. Only two wigs, one stool, an easel, and a dropcloth to go. I begin to pray to an unfeeling God to please make Castellaneta multitask." In a piece where he attempts to climb a mountain (well... a very short hill), Rakoff immediately nips any Sierra Club fantasies in the bud: "I do not go outdoors. Not more than I have to. As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of living in New York City is indoors. You want greenery? Order the spinach." But in the end, what makes him such a terrific writer is that he's not only onto everyone else, he's onto himself. No wonder his visit to a kibbutz becomes the occasion for some supremely self-conscious amusement: "I know I sound like the Central Casting New Yorker I've turned myself into with single-minded determination when I say this, but the main problem with working in the fields is that the sun is just always shining." --Claire Dederer

From the Back Cover:

"Combining journalistic tenacity, literary smarts, and a talent for gut-busting one-liners, Rakoff reports on his wilted salad days . . . His blend of withering wit and self-effacing humor makes these essays soar." –Entertainment Weekly

"Rakoff possesses a sociologist's eye for places where today’s consoling myths reside."
New York Times

"David Rakoff’s Fraud showcases his rapier wit, slashing in all directions with slice-of-life insights and cutting remarks, sometimes nicking himself with self-deprecation in his dexterous duello with the American experience." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Rakoff likes to paint himself as urbane to a fault, an outsider anywhere unpaved. But then, in the woods or on a mountaintop, he reveals himself, despite his searing and hilarious observations, to be a completely unrelenting romantic."
–Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

"David Rakoff's hilarious, bittersweet stories are epic struggles–between smoky bars and the great outdoors, management and labor, Santa Claus and Sigmund Freud, New York versus everywhere else, and, not least, neighbor-to-the-North against South. Rakoff is such an American original it turns out he’s Canadian. Vive the brain drain!"
-Sarah Vowell, author of Take the Cannoli

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780767906319: Fraud: Essays

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ISBN 10:  0767906314 ISBN 13:  9780767906319
Publisher: Anchor, 2002
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Doubleday, 2001
Hardcover

9780965025621: Fraud

Doudle..., 2001
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9780385658317: Fraud

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9780385658324: Fraud

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