Sunday, July 23, 2006

Book Review: Fraud

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff has the trifecta of funny: he is Jewish, Gay, and Canadian. If that isn't enough for you here's a passage from the essay on his childhood kibbutz adventure, on "The Long Night of the Chickens":

Chicken shit is horrible stuff. Unlike cow manure, which according to David Foster Wallace, smells "warm and herbal and blameless," chicken shit is an olfactory insult: a snarling, saw-toothed, ammoniac, cheesy smell. Needlessly, gratuitously disgusting; a stench of such assaultive tenacity that it burns your eyes...Rather than making you never want to eat a chicken again, it simply makes you angry. It makes you hold a grudge. You'll eat chicken again, by God, and you'll chew really, really hard.

...He faces us holding the requisite eight, four in each hand, living masses of writing feathers, looking like some German expressionist cheerleader, his pom-poms alive, convulsing, filthy. Who will see their dreams fall away into the abyss and eventually succumb to the crushing sadness and meaninglessness of it all? We will! And what does that spell? Madness! Louder! I can't hear you!
--Essay: Arise Ye Wretched of the Earth, pages 20 - 21.

As a professional journalist, his essays range from personal experiences (such as living on a kibbutz) to spending time at Loch Ness and attending survival camp. His wit is acerbic. His vocabulary is stellar. The essays are highly amusing and often poignant, and the book is an enjoyable read.

I highly recommend it and give it 4/5 stars.


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