Achieving the joke is a rare gift or a special talent for combining contradictions. In literature this ability seems to be even rarer, but Sedaris has it uninterruptedly for decades now. He has cultivated in many ways his talent for drawing humor from unexpectable sources. In fact, his sharpness and observation are sculpted with even finer tools and undermine even more certainties.
Usually, the further you read, the more the joke intensifies. It seems to follow a tried and tested method: mixing the familiar and biographical with the extreme and the overthrow. However, what ultimately remains of each book and makes it special is that the autobiographical elements reach the in-depth confession. They end up combining the comic with the tragic in such a subversive way that you often do not have time to laugh or cry.
the autobiographical narrative thus transcends caricature or farce. A description of a reality show, for example, can lead to a deep personal confession. And this choice is so deep that it marks you. It does not dwell on the light narrative of family vacations, but builds in-depth characters, which are not simple and standard, but complex, precisely because they are true. His heroes do not rely on the plot to stand out. The narrative is like a diary or vignette, trying to tame time, a hungry savage animal who returns to get what it can.
The members of this large family in one way or another could be ours. Even if we do not have common experiences, even if the external characteristics are different, the common feeling and the way our life is experienced remind us of something of ourselves.
And this is the reason why in the end we cannot leave his books or let them leave us after reading: because it reveals something to us; something of our own fears. But in the end, he brings them all to light and exorcises them.
Like Calypso, our favorite cat, which eventually turns out to be the neighbor’s favorite cat, so the experiences, which we think belong only to the other, belong in a way to everyone.
After so many years and despite so many changes he and his family have undergone, Sedaris retains the talent to remain “Naked”.
Writter of this article: Anastasia Karavasileiou