ISBN 10: 0553714422 / ISBN 13: 9780553714425
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Inhaltsangabe: 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.

Rezension: 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

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