Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris, illustrated by Ian Falconer

Sedaris's latest book anthropomorphizes an array of animals, from a disturbingly brutal "vigilant rabbit" to a knowledge-seeking great horned owl which befriends a gerbil and a hippopotamus. With this, the author mirrors the human conditions and afflictions.
In the title story, the squirrel and the chipmunk are starting a relationship only to be discouraged by the chipmunk's ignorant family. Readers are also introduced to an alcoholic cat that loathes the prison's AA meetings. The stories are full of dark humor, as well as both gross and clever dialogues. At times the depiction is very graphic (warnings!) along with Falconer's illustrations, as in The Crow and the Lamb and The Motherless Bear. The creatures will linger long after I have finished reading their tales.