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A frequent contributor to the New York Times magazine, Outside, Salon, and GQ, and a regular on Public Radio International's "This American Life,"David Rakoff's debut collection of essays is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and take-your-breath-away poignant.

David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether he finds himself on assignment climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire — donning a pair of Timberlands for his trek, only to realize with horror that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in." — sitting quietly impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window...for a month, or musing on the unique predicament of being undetectably Canadian in New York City ("...what's more spicy than being Canadian, I ask you?"), Rakoff has a gift for exposing life's humour and pathos. Fraud takes us places even we didn't know we wanted to go: expeditions as varied as a search for elves in Iceland, a foray into soap opera acting, or contemplating the gin-soaked olive at the bottom of a martini glass.

With the sharpest of eyes, David Rakoff explores the odd and ordinary events of life, spotting what is unique, funny and absurd in the world around him. But for all its razor-sharp wit and snarky humor, Fraud is also, ultimately, an object lesson in not taking life, or oneself, too seriously.

The edition includes an excerpt from David Rakoff's Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish.

Publishers Weekly Review

May 01, 2001 – A talented new humorist springs onto the scene: Rakoff has a rapier wit, slashing in all directions with slice-of-life insights and cutting remarks, sometimes nicking himself with self-deprecation in his dexterous duello with the American experience. Rakoff is a public radio personality, and his first collection contains his material from public radio's This American Life and from Outside and Salon, as well as a few new pieces. Assigned to visit a New Age retreat for a Buddhism workshop led by Steven Seagal, to look for elves in Iceland, to attend the Aspen Comedy Festival and to train at a wilderness survival camp, Rakoff endures urban dweller misadventures with a spin that occasionally remind one of Fran Lebowitz, such as during his hike up a New Hampshire mountain: "If only the mist would part to reveal a beautiful, beautiful parking lot, I will get through this." Outstanding is "Lush Life," a look at the delusions and despair of low-paid NYC editorial assistants, "complicit believers in the mythic glamour of a literary New York" yet forced to subsist on "salmonella-friendly" free snacks in "unhappening bars" where they can avoid former classmates with six-figure incomes. Rakoff can be as funny as Dave Barry or George Carlin, but he adds a touch of pathos, peeling away poignant layers unexplored by other humor writers. The author's woodcut illustrations are barely adequate, since the book cries out for Ralph Steadman art. The book cries out, period.
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Humor
  • Published: May 15, 2001
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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