Friday, August 10, 2012

Half Empty by David Rakoff

I'm sad to learn today that David Rakoff has died. I've enjoyed his arch humour since an earlier collection of essays, Don't Get Too Comfortable, was published in 2005, but his most recent collection, Half Empty, is my favourite. In it, he is at his most personal; candid about being gay, his shortcomings, and about his battles with cancer.

I listened to Rakoff narrate Half Empty in the Random House audiobook [6 hr, 49 min] back in January, so my memory retains only impressions, rather than details. Rakoff's social commentary is charming, observant and literary. He is funny enough to make me laugh out loud. Last year, Rakoff was awarded the Thurber prize for American humour.

Canadians can view a clip of Rakoff being interviewed in 2005 on the Jon Stewart Daily Show here. He talks about why he finally applied for US citizenship after more than 20 years of living in New York. Rakoff maintained dual citizenship, however, so I'll add a Canadian tag to this post. He will be missed on both sides of the border.

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