Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World

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9780743205405: Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World
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A wickedly funny collection of personal essays from popular NPR personality Sarah Vowell.

Hailed by Newsweek as a "cranky stylist with talent to burn," Vowell has an irresistible voice -- caustic and sympathetic, insightful and double-edged -- that has attracted a loyal following for her magazine writing and radio monologues on This American Life.

While tackling subjects such as identity, politics, religion, art, and history, these autobiographical tales are written with a biting humor, placing Vowell solidly in the tradition of Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker. Vowell searches the streets of Hoboken for traces of the town's favorite son, Frank Sinatra. She goes under cover of heavy makeup in an investigation of goth culture, blasts cannonballs into a hillside on a father-daughter outing, and maps her family's haunted history on a road trip down the Trail of Tears.

Take the Cannoli is an eclectic tour of the New World, a collection of alternately hilarious and heartbreaking essays and autobiographical yarns.

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About the Author:

Sarah Vowell is a contributing editor for public radio's This American Life and has written for Time, Esquire, GQ, Spin, Salon, McSweeneys, The Village Voice, and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Radio On, Take the Cannoli, and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. She lives in New York City.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Broadcaster and columnist Vowell (Radio On: A Listener's Diary, 1998) presents a wonderfully eclectic mix of smart-witted, often hilarious personal essays. For every reference Vowell makes to The Great Gatsby, Huck Finn, or the Book of Revelations (three of her favorites), she quotes a combination of Sinatra, Elvis, Springsteen, and Johnny Cash a dozen times, resulting in refreshing writing with attitude. Throughout, Vowell's passion for music, sound, and rhythm are manifested in her words and her topics, whether firing a cannon with dad or making a mix tape for a friend's girlfriend. Many of the stylish essays are ``on assignment'' accounts, in which Vowell allows herself to be dressed up for a night of goth clubbing, attends Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, checks into the grimy and ghostly Chelsea Hotel, and tries to learn to drive at 28. Her title track, ``Take the Cannoli,'' is not about music, but takes its namesake from a sound byte in The Godfathera film Vowell obsessed over when in college. The film's ``made-up, sexist East Coast thugs'' taught Vowell a valuable lesson about family, guns, and dessert. But not everything is sugar-coated in Vowell's world: she claims that ``even as a six-year-old I knew I'd never be good enough to get into heaven,'' and she recounts whining her way through Disney World in ``Species-on-Species Abuse.'' She gets cranky and sardonic, but at these moments her talent may shine brightest. In ``Dark Circles,'' Vowell, coffee in hand, comes to grips with her insomnia: lying awake in bed, she recalls her day, arriving at the less-than-soporific conclusion that ``everyday, no matter how cheerful, how innocuous, always contains within it some little speed bump of anger or hate, some wrong place, wrong time, hell-is-other-people moment of despair. Nighty night.'' Vowell's crafty writing, often free-spirited and sometimes neurotic, is like literary stand-up comedy with a lot of heart and perfect delivery.-- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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