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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary [Hardcover]

David Sedaris , Ian Falconer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.99
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Hardcover, Bargain Price CDN $9.60  
Hardcover, Sept. 28 2010 CDN $17.51  
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2010
Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.

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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary + When You Are Engulfed in Flames + Me Talk Pretty One Day
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A native Quebecois artist, Rabagliati has chronicled a thinly veiled version of his artistic and interior life in his previous three books, and the present volume finds his stand-in, Paul, entering into adult responsibilities with his fiancé, Lucie, and thoughts of a child on the way. On a long summer break, Paul remembers his childhood vacations and his own upbringing and early love affair with Lucie. Meanwhile, Lucie has a very difficult time sustaining pregnancies. All of this is told in a matter-of-fact, somewhat flat manner. Rabagliati is an everyman chronicler in that way—telling the facts of a story with no artificial drama or hysterics. Unfortunately, this makes for a somewhat dull read. This slightly boring telling is redeemed by Rabagliati's wonderful skill with a pen. His cartooning is steeped in the clean-line style of Hergé and other Europeans, and he cleverly delineates characters and their environs in this simple, elegant and reductive style. It's a pleasure to look at, even with somewhat limited returns. Paul Goes Fishing is a fine graphic novel—not great, not bad, but firmly in the middle, with a sharp sense of craft and a warm heart guiding it. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

PRAISE FOR WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES:

"He's the best there is."—Judith Newman, People

"A joy to read....Sedaris [is] a connoisseur of human nature at its worst."—Christopher Muther, Boston Globe

"Sedaris is certainly worthy of hero worship....He is a master pathfinder."—Mark Washburn, Charlotte Observer

"The preeminent humorist of his generation."—Whitney Pastorek, Entertainment Weekly

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Aesop's Tales with Modern Morals Nov. 7 2010
Format:Hardcover
If you're already a David Sedaris fan, odds are good you'll like this book of short stories. Every tale is a fast read. I finished the book over a few break times at work. In it, you'll find learn that inconsiderately named species like the humpback whale and the potbellied pig have developed inferiority complexes. Dogs commit adultery (no surprise there), moralizing chickens and rodents believe that roasted birds and lab rats somehow deserve their fates, and self-absorbed sheep are "fleeced" (yes, I went for it.)

I really like Ian Falconer's illustrations, though they do give away the endings of several stories. They're funny and a bit unnerving all at once--a really perfect choice for this collection.

Sedaris is famous for his personal essays. His writing has always felt strangely wholesome, even when he's talking about old drug binges. Maybe it is because Sedaris seems to have such close relationships with the people he loves. He also focuses more on his own gaffes than anyone else's. These stories are more mean-spirited than any of his other books. No one ever gets a chance to redeem themselves, but I guess neither did two of the three little pigs in the original version of the story.

If you don't normally read Sedaris, but are interested in traditional folktales or fractured fairytales, this might also be a great choice for you. Expect some sex talk and a few grisly endings... Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aesop gone satirist March 8 2011
By triplou
Format:Audio CD
I first listened to this book via library download, then purchased the CD from amazon.ca. It's in my car so that I can hear the stories -- the reading is outstanding -- the same way a child has favorites at bedtime. I think it's brilliant. First of all, it's highly satiric, and Sedaris has a wonderful ear for how people speak, and a lot of intuition into how they think. In this way, the animals have human characteristics and personalities. However, he's very knowledgeable about the animal world, so there's a great deal of accurate detail about animal life. They talk like people, and we can often relate to situations, but they act like what they are. Hence, nature in tooth and claw can come as a shock in some of these fables. Some of the stories deal with very serious issues -- abused wives for example. They are not all funny -- the concise graphic descriptions give a photographic quality to the text. There's a great deal of wit -- especially word play. The fly with the superiority complex on the 'upper crust' of a pie -- Sedaris is fairly subtle sometimes, so that with each hearing I've found more to laugh at. There is some obscenity in this book -- it's not for children -- but this is the aspect of the animals representing people. I can hear these stories again and again -- the CD is strongly recommended over the print version. In fact, I'm buying a couple of extra copies to send to friends who I know will appreciate 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk'. It's not for everyone [see some negative reviews] but it's one of my favourites.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Too dark for me. Aug. 31 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Sedaris - the light, the heavy, the biographical, the stories ... but not this book. It's not "bitter-sweet", it's very, very dark and sometimes gross. When I listened to "The Motherless Bear" I was truly disgusted. Still a fan, but I will read the reviews and hopefully know what to avoid from now on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A little too dark July 14 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought one for myself and one as a gift, and these stories are DARK. A few are funny, as I was expecting, but I can see the style Sedaris was attempting. He attempted and nailed it. Not my sort of thing, and the person I gave to as a gift was expecting a hilarious little book as well, and couldn't finish it. Pity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars short and dark, but still Sedaris Jan. 6 2011
By Sarah
Format:Hardcover
This book of short stories is laugh out loud funny at some parts, and the animal characters add a bit of a twist from Sedaris' regular tales. But be warned, they can be a pretty dark. The stories are also quite a bit shorter than most of his other works, so it only takes an hour or so to get through the book. With the great illustrations and funny subject matter, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a quick but still satisfying read.
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