Listen to this article
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris, Abacus, RRP£8.99, 288 pages
In the US, David Sedaris is a national treasure; Truman Capote crossed with John Boy Walton. Thoughtful, witty, excitable, world-weary, romantic, fastidious and sometimes callous, he houses most human traits.
In this collection of essays we travel back into Sedaris’s childhood, viewing the events that formed the man. In the present we accompany him on many trips to healthcare professionals who ensure that the man remains intact. Sedaris shrugs at life. Often he winces. Sometimes he does both at the same time. There are a few fictional monologues here that are less winning than the personal pieces. There are also moments of almost breathtaking meanness, often directed at the weak and lowly, which grate.
The chapters that delve inside his family’s dynamics are the ones that speak most deeply to this nosy parker, creating waves of sympathy and wry humour, as though a rather amazing stranger is addressing you and you alone.