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Summary

There's no right way to keep a diary, but if there's an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mastered it.

If it's navel-gazing you're after, you've come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street; collecting Romanian insults, or being taken round a Japanese parasite museum. There's a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party - lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.

These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was a harmless laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in fine hotel dining rooms and Serbian motels, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background - new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can't by the end.

Sedaris has been compared to Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, Lewis Carroll and a 'sexy Alan Bennett'. A Carnival of Snackery illustrates that he is very much his own singular self.

©2021 David Sedaris (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"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)

"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)

What listeners say about A Carnival of Snackery

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David doesn’t narrate this?

To be fair I’ve only just downloaded this title but after the introduction Tracey Ullman takes over narrating for and as David. It gets jarring when she speaks about Hugh…I’ll keep listening but I’m instantly disappointed with this choice and that Audible didn’t mention that she’s the narrator on the sales page.

27 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I love Sedaris and I loved the audiobooks featuring his sister doing the female voices. This time, he has disappointingly used a British female actor for his own voice. Sedaris' voice is a huge part of the appeal of his audiobooks and this substitute is highly disappointing.

20 people found this helpful

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I am SO disappointed

I love everything David has ever written and I’m sure that this is no different.

But I just can’t get over that he is not narrating all of this. Audible, PLEASE do a version with David Sedaris narrating the entire thing.

I just can’t listen.

16 people found this helpful

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NOT READ BY DAVID SEDARIS!!!

I love DS, and he’s one of those authors who’s voice I could listen to all day. Having bought almost all his audiobooks on Audible I was so excited to find a new release I hadn’t heard yet. It didn’t mention that this wasn’t narrated by him - in fact the title details say he does narrate the book - so I was absolutely gutted when I realised the narrator is Tracey Ullman. Absolutely ruined it and couldn’t get past the first chapter 🙁

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Very disappointing that it's not read by Sedaris.

Of course the book is great, but I only know that from reading it myself. For me, most of the enjoyment I get from listening to David Sedaris' books comes from the humour I get through his voice. Tracey Ullman is far too performative for me, and as a result this audiobook just doesn't work at all. I gave up; it just doesn't work for me.

13 people found this helpful

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So fed up!

I love David Sedaris…I have all his audio books and have listened and re listened many times over. I am always ecstatic when I hear he has a new series on the radio too. I have been awaiting with feverish anticipation for this next book. I can’t believe he is not reading it all himself……more than half the pleasure I have gotten from his books has been his amazing voice..he is a wizard at altering his voice to portray one person to another..his delivery is perfection…….and he can portray….anger, humour, spite…jealousy and pathos…just with his voice. Now we have to listen to a woman…telling his stories. Really sad.

6 people found this helpful

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What a disappointment.

Whomever suggested that Tracey Ullman read the "British" parts of David's diaries SHOULD BE FIRED. Yes, I realise that Tracey is a genius when it comes to accents but NO. Just no. Did anyone workshop this idea?

The charm of the previous audio books was that you felt as though you were sitting across from the author, chin cupped in hand, listening to a dazzling string of wonderful anecdotes over a steaming cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon. Instead of a walk down memory lane soothed only by the dulcet tones of Mr. Sedaris, we have Ms. Ullman voice crammed into the narrative. She comes and goes throughout the audio book and it never feels "right". The concept tries too hard and fails oh so miserably.

Having said all of that, the contents of his diaries are charmingly "warts and all" and, at times, bitingly clever. Classic Sedaris!

5 people found this helpful

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So disappointed

Nothing against Tracey Ullman but it’s just not the same when it’s not read by David. Interestingly it highlights how important his delivery is to the whole experience.

4 people found this helpful

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Not narrated entirely by David Sedaris

I started listening last night and it is bizarre and jarring that it is narrated by Sedaris and Ullman. I have returned the audible book and will purchase in book form. I am looking forward to reading it as I am a huge fan.

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Ruined by narration

I have been waiting for this book for years. I am a huge fan, own most of his actual books and have seen him live, but what I love best are listening to his audiobooks. I own all of them and the BBC specials and have listened to many of them several times. They are my go to whenever I need to decompress or want to feel like I'm just chatting with an old friend while I clean the house or do some gardening. In order to bring that feeling, though, I need David Sedaris to do the readings.

It reminds me of when his dad said he was more of a reader than a writer (or something like that). In a way he was right, because the thing I most love is listening to David read his stories. When he reads them his unique cadence and even which word he emphasises in a sentance makes the stories come alive in a way that they don't when one reads the words on a page.

Tracey Ullman is great at accents and voices, but the decision to have anyone other than David read his stories was a horrible one. She doesn't capture his essence at all, and it's jarring to listen to, especially as it constantly switches back and forth between her and David. There is no flow.

I am about an hour in, and as much as I love David and his stories, I am not sure how much more I can take. For an avid listener and huge fan it is just such a disappointment. I do hope David re-record the parts Tracey did.

3 people found this helpful

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  • A User
  • 17-03-22

Huge David Sedaris fan for years...but

Really disappointed that he didn't narrate the whole thing. Tracey Ullman was just not needed here AT ALL and she wasn't just used to for the Irish/British accents as he says in the beginning! He's got such great delivery reading his own work - I didn't want to hear Tracy's voice! Whose bad idea was that?! Sorry Tracy, you're very talented, but not for this. Otherwise, David, you're the best.

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  • MWH
  • 03-11-21

Always loved Books by David Sedaris

This insight into an author's life is a treat and I love the fact that I can relate to these events... sometimes

1 person found this helpful