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Fraud | [David Rakoff]

Fraud

The wry and the heartfelt join in David Rakoff's prose to resurrect that most neglected of literary virtues: wit. As he finds himself in all the far-flung hinterlands of our culture, this fish out of water winds up satirizing himself more than his subject matter, to hilarious effect.
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Publisher's Summary

Wherever he is, David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window during the holidays, climbing an icy mountain in cheap loafers, playing an evil modeling agent on a daytime soap opera, or learning primitive survival skills in the wilds of New Jersey, Rakoff doesn't belong. Nor does he try to. Still, he continually finds himself off in the far-flung hinterlands of our culture, notebook or microphone in hand, hoping to conjure that dyed-in-the-wool New York condescension.

And Rakoff tries to be nasty; heaven knows nothing succeeds like the cheap sneer, but he can't quite help noticing that these are actual human beings he's writing about. In his attempts not to pull any punches, the most damaging blows, more often than not, land squarely on his own jaw - hilariously satirizing the writer, not the subject. And therein lies David Rakoff's genius and his burgeoning appeal. The wry and the heartfelt join in his prose to resurrect that most neglected of literary virtues: wit.

©2001 David Rakoff; (P)2001 Random House, Inc.; Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, a Division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A talented new humorist...Rakoff has a rapier wit." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (384 )
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4.6 (149 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 08-16-12
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 08-16-12 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OMG Laugh Out Loud"

    I am so very glad I downloaded this book, sadly however because we've just lost this great humorist. And now I've just found his books. I've heard him on "This American Life" and loved him. This book had me embarrassing myself laughing loudly while walking in to work. The first half was best but the whole book very worthwhile. Enjoy!!!!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Warner, NH, USA 08-16-03
    Mark Warner, NH, USA 08-16-03
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    "A View Off Skew"

    "This American Life" has exposed us to so many superb essayists that it's hard to lift one above the crowd, but David Rakoff is one of the best. He presents himself unapologetically and with just enough of a sense of self-absorbtion that any apology would seem, well, fraudulant. Rakoff's tight writing, keen observation, and wry wit combine to produce a work of self & social satire that stands with the best. I wish I could give 4 1/2 stars instead of 4, because a 5 star rating is just too much, implying perfection. The imperfection of the presentation is only that it's abridged.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nell Huntworth Chicago, IL USA 01-01-10
    Nell Huntworth Chicago, IL USA 01-01-10 Listener Since 2009

    flowerpower forever

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    "You must HEAR these stories"

    I first heard David Rakoff on NPR's weekly radio show, This American Life, as I'm sure many of his fans have. Once I had heard him tell several of his stories, I knew I had to have them on audio, not just as books in text.

    Many other writers I've come to love are also people I first heard on This American Life, like David Sadaris.

    I love David Rakoff's voice. It's soft,carefully articulated, and has a wry quality bordering on "droll" which he uses to great and sometimes very humorous effect. Some people might first think this man who "prefers the indoors" is an artist and intellectual that could be inaccessable, perhaps asuming he's a cynic, or a wild eccentric; hyper critical of all everyday experience or emotion.

    Soon enough, you realize this storyteller is both uniquely himself, which is a gift, and sweet and compassionate and like anyone else you'd want to learn more about living a thoughtful life from. He's not afraid to let you in on what he thinks about the world, North America, our society and its leaders. Nor does he keep secret his direct observations about people, how they sometimes confirm his worst expectations, or his own mistakes, disappointments and self-doubts; but it's his immediate honesty inside the experience of all this that I find so resonant and redeeming.

    Experience, observation, what is learned. Or at least he makes it seem like what he gives you is this simple. But this brilliant author knows the secret to all good works of art: the personal becomes the universal.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Burbach 03-07-13
    L. Burbach 03-07-13

    Retired economics professor. Looking for something funnier than Republicans bitching about Obama's handling of the economy they created and have done everything possible to keep from recovery hoping to beat the Democrats in 2012. Hard to beat that scenario.

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    "This book may be a fraud, I was looking for funny"
    If you could sum up Fraud in three words, what would they be?

    Gay NYC Jewish Humor


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm 75, female,straight, from a tiny. 2000 population, Southern town, The first adult book I ever read when in the third grade, (my poor little elementary school didn't have a library) was my mother's book club edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I learned that a book can carry you to another world, country, city--into another's mind. I loved it.

    So here is a story by a Gay Jewish Man who hates dogs, knows nothing about the outdoors I have loved, doesn't enjoy Christmas or quaint B&Bs in New England, yet, the third time I heard it, we connected. I grew to like the book and him, although I'm sure that had we met in an elevator last December in Rockefeller Center, he would have ignored me as I managed a sideways peek at him. It would have been a longer peek had I known he was an author--but then this book--while a BOOK is still sort of a fraud, as he well knows.

    Still he chose to climb a mountain in December for a magazine article. Was horribly out of comfort and place, But he did it, and shared the experience.


    What does David Rakoff bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Immediacy.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This book was out of my comfort zone. I began feeling sorry for this sad man, and ended understanding that people are different, They have different life experiences. Different approaches to life. I found that he and I share many values, drreams, and goals. Hear the book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sabina 03-20-14
    Sabina 03-20-14
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    "No as funny as Sedaris"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I did not finish the book. I have listened to the first hour or so and then got really bored with it. I listened while driving and my mind would just drift away. The stories were not engaging or funny. It's witty at times, but too self-absorbed and self-centred. If you like Woody Allen's comedy, you may like this. It was not for me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. M. Amber 08-06-08
    W. M. Amber 08-06-08
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    "Honest"

    What I love about this book is David's Honesty. He weaves funny tales in with painful ones. As an avid listener of TAL i enjoyed him as much throughout this book as i did, listening to his stories on the show. It was a short and great listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    psykat 03-21-13
    psykat 03-21-13

    psykat

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    "Barely amusing"
    Would you try another book from David Rakoff and/or David Rakoff?

    No


    Has Fraud turned you off from other books in this genre?

    NO


    Did David Rakoff do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes. They all characters were different and there was no mistaking one from another.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was amusing. The book was not what I had hoped for.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne New York, NY, United States 02-03-13
    suzanne New York, NY, United States 02-03-13 Member Since 2008
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    "hated it"

    I do not get how so many people loved this book! It was so dull and just not funny. I am baffled that people actually love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Austin, TX, United States 03-07-11
    Debbie Austin, TX, United States 03-07-11 Member Since 2005
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    "So Funny!"

    I listen to a lot of humor (to try to write better humor), and Rakoff, in my opinion, is one of the best! I love all of his detailed descriptions too, self-talk, honesty, etc.!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Austin, TX, United States 01-08-10
    Lisa Austin, TX, United States 01-08-10 Member Since 2008
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    "All the joys of eves-dropping without the guilt"

    Listening to David Rakoff is just so much fun! His command of the language, hilarious perspective and extensive vocabulary make this an enjoyable audio book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Rhubarb, Rhubarb
    Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Similar to Sedaris - just slightly sadder"

    Great discovery - though lay enjoyed - you will love it if you enjoy David Sedaris

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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