Monday, October 7, 2013

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book for my book club.

I didn’t find the book humorous, a couple of times I thought to myself, that was smart, but I don’t think I really laughed.

The highlight of the book is the author describing the origin of the term “23 skidoo” which I never knew.

The book is a series of unrelated essays, some on elves in Iceland, others on cancer, others on nature retreats.

I think my biggest problem was the author and I don’t think the same way. I don’t know of anyone who things this way though. Regarding the possibility of forced laughter, the author says:
“I’m suddenly reminded of that legendary medieval torture wherein infidels and malefactors, their chests constricted by tight leather straps, have salt poured on their feet. Goats are then brought in to lick the salt off and the victims expire in horrible, suffocating guffaws, unable to escape or draw their next breath.”
It seems a bit extreme.

In one paragraph we have the words jute, apparatchiks and gestalt. On one other page synecdoche, anodyne and thrum. I don’t know what any of these 6 words mean, and this was on three paragraphs. There’s an important lesson that when you have to explain the joke, it’s less funny. Similarly always using the dictionary function of my Kindle took away from the story. I don’t know what I would have done if I was reading the paperback.

The narrative felt strained, over-thought and over-worked while only being mildly amusing.

View all my reviews

No comments: