'He's like an American Alan Bennett, in that his own fastidiousness becomes the joke, as per the taxi encounter, or his diary entry about waiting interminably in a coffee-bar queue' Brian Logan, Guardian review of An Evening with David Sedaris.
The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often you can't. Won't people turn away if they know the real me? you wonder. The me that hates my own child, that put my perfectly healthy dog to sleep? The me who thinks, deep down, that maybe The Wire was overrated?
For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From the family home in Ralegh, North Carolina, we follow Sedaris as he sets out to make his way in the world. As an art student and then teacher in Chicago he works at a succession of very odd jobs, meeting even odder people, before moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer - where instead he very quickly lands a job in Macy's department store as an elf in Santaland...
Tender, hilarious, illuminating, and endlessly captivating, Theft by Finding offers a rare look into the mind of one of our generation's greatest comic geniuses.
The writing here is funnier, (even) sharper . . . There isn't a dull word among these pages — India Knight, Sunday Times
Could there be a more delightful American import than the memoirist David Sedaris? Not since the peanut butter and jelly sandwich have we inherited something so sweet and comforting yet so wickedly naughty — The Times
This first of two volumes of his copious diaries takes us from 1977 to 2002, and sees him grow from a despondent
21-year-old in menial jobs into the man recognised as possibly the best humorist of the 2000s
— Daily Telegraph, Best Books Under the Sun, Summer 2017
So often Sedaris's phrasing is beautiful in its piquancy and minimalism...His life is extraordinary in so many ways - the drug addiction, the eccentric family, the crazy jobs, the fame, the globetrotting - but one of the more unlikely achievements here is in making it all seem quite ordinary. Ultimately, his masterstroke is in acting as a bystander in his own story — Book of the Day, Guardian
He is the American Alan Bennett - or would be, if Bennett had a history of serious substance abuse and a higher tolerance for sick humour — Times Literary Supplement
He makes me laugh so much. In an era when US satire is outpacing our own he's a sharp, humane and hilarious voice that never fails to make you smile - and sometimes weep. Apparently effortless humour is difficult, and precious. He's the real thing — James Naughtie, Radio Times
A deadpan, darkly comical portrait of the American underbelly . . . Sedaris shares something of [Alan] Bennett's detached curiosity, and they both have a thirst for amusement — Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
It's like gossiping with an old friend - if that friend were a rather sexy American Alan Bennett with lots of good drug stories — Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
Cool, very funnv, sardonic, yet open . . . there is an echo of Truman Capote or Tennessee Williams - with extra quirk. Or even Lewis Carroll . . . one of the biggest comedy writers of his generation — Peter Bradshaw, Spectator
Just as in his essays and stories, the young Sedaris is both scandalising and scandalised, surprisingly profound, and very, very funny . . . Sedaris fans will not be surprised to know that he can do darkness and profundity as well as humour. Theft by Finding is full of all three, but what makes it so good is Sedaris's gift for sidling up them all from the least expected angle — Daily Telegraph
A typically hilarious first volume of diaries from the brilliant American humourist — Spectator, Summer Reading pick
There are some passages in the diaries that remind me that his perspective on life and family, being gay and being an artist were there from the start. That savage, biting commentary, as well as deep reserves of compassion, are all there. I can pick up any collection of David Sedaris's essays and be very happy. He keeps surprising me with how much, after all these years, he still really makes me laugh — Guardian
Theft By Finding is an eye-opening journey through crazy jobs, geographic transitions, family dynamics and homophobic prejudice — Sunday Herald
David Sedaris will make you properly laugh - his new diaries are pure joy — Stylist
Sedaris's gift is to make you stop and think one moment and laugh out loud the next — Daily Mail
The perfect book to dip in and out of in between dipping in and out of the pool — Red
It's a pretty perfect encapsulation of all that is great and hilarious about him as a writer — Esquire
Hilarious . . . with Sedaris a now-established bestselling author and world traveler, the prickly Southern wit is still intact and sparkling — Patton Oswalt, New York Times Book Review
It's an astounding feat to stay funny-wildly, wickedly, ingeniously so-for more than 20 years. Yet David Sedaris has somehow pulled it off . . . with eviscerating wit and radiant humanity . . . Fans will no doubt delight in the entries that will turn into Sedaris's most beloved essays — O, The Oprah Magazine
A master of incisive and comic cultural criticism . . . Theft by Finding reveals intimate details of this literary luminary's life and mind-all told with his singular sense of humor — Harper's Bazaar
It is the ultimate Sedaris source book. Observant, diligent, funny - proof, yet again, that life is a lot stranger than fiction — Helen Davies, Sunday Times