Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

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Authors
Falconer, Ian
Sedaris, David
Issue Date
2011
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Book, Whole
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As I mentioned about the hardbound version, printed a year earlier, this is a wonderful little book! Sedaris adds one story here: The Vomit-Eating Flies (160). Another delight about an unsavory subject! I will repeat my comments from the earlier hardbound version. Sedaris is wise to title the book from Squirrel Meets Chipmunk after a delightfully whistful story. These strong stories are, I would say, one step beyond Thurber. The characterization is pushed beyond the normal borders of fable, but the upshot is much the same as one finds from fables. We learn, that is, about human foibles. Often, as in Thurber and particularly in Bierce, there is a sudden turn at the end of the fable. Thus the bear that makes a habit of getting sympathy for the dead bear that she claimed as her mother finally takes an interest in another bear, only to be reduced like him to being a circus bear without teeth. Similarly, the mouse that keeps a pet snake ends up inside the snake. Some stories carve out a tone that goes far beyond what fable can normally do. I think particularly of The Faithful Setter, a view of marital fidelity and infidelity (60). The most breathtaking piece might be The Crow and the Lamb (74), in which what looks like a pleasant conversation leads to a vicious attack by the crow on a newborn lamb's eyes. I have read twelve of the sixteen stories and enjoyed them thoroughly!
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Back Bay Books: Little, Brown, and Company
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