Lamentations of the Father
Author: Ian Frazier
When The Atlantic Monthly celebrated its 150th anniversary by publishing excerpts from the best writing ever to appear in the magazine, in the category of the humorous essay it chose only four pieces—one by Mark Twain, one by James Thurber, one by Kurt Vonnegut, and Ian Frazier's 1997 essay "Lamentations of the Father." The title piece of this new collection has had an ongoing life in anthologies, in radio performances, in audio recordings, on the Internet, and in photocopies held by hamburger magnets on the doors of people's refrigerators. The august company in which The Atlantic put Frazier gives an idea of where on the literary spectrum his humorous pieces lie. Frazier's work is funny and elegant and poetic and of the highest literary aspiration, all at the same time. More serious than a "gag" writer, funnier than most essayists of equal accomplishment, Frazier is of a classical originality. This collection, a companion to his previous humor collections Dating Your Mom (1985) and Coyote v. Acme (1996), contains thirty-three pieces gathered from the last thirteen years.
Past winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor; author of the nonfiction bestsellers Great Plains, Family, and On the Rez; contributor to The New Yorker, Outside, and other magazines, Frazier is the greatest writer of our (or indeed of any) age.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In The News
“Ian Frazier is an antidote for the blues.” —The Boston Globe
“Being a funny guy doesn't always mesh with being a smart guy. In Frazier's case, however, the two seem one and the same.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Warning . . . reading [Frazier's essays] in the bathroom, on the subway, or in other heavy-traffic areas may force you to have to explain to others what's making you guffaw so loudly.” —Entertainment Weekly
“America's greatest essayist.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Frazier is a master of the trade and for those cursed with literacy, an absolute howl.” —The Buffalo News
“Hilarious . . . [Frazier's] sense of humor is so uncanny and surprising it's nearly impossible not to be charmed. Highly entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews