Sedaris’ humour doesn’t err on the side of caution. His punchlines travel on a tight rope with laughs falling on one side and horrified gasps on the other. Without his unruffled wit, these diary entries scaling two decades of his intriguing, weird, and quotidian observations could be misconstrued as rude. Sedaris is, though, some kind of word wizard who gets away with scrutinising the minutiae of humankind giving you the space to laugh, even though you’ll be looking over your shoulder because you feel, deep down, you shouldn’t be.
It’s been said that the man’s incapable of writing a bad novel, and it’s true, he’s not a double Pulitzer winner for nothing, and this swagger fuelled crime saga is no exception. Whitehead’s retelling of 1960s Harlem is lucid, inclusive of that Whitehead-esque cultural satire and awash with racial politics and family dynamics, making this an allegory for modern day America. Ray Carney, low-rent furniture store owner and a Walter White of life, lives on the periphery of crime, battling with his morals as he has a baby on the way, a distaste for his own father’s criminal history, and a cousin involved in a heist. Triple Pulitzer anyone?