In many ways, David Sedaris' 2000 collection of short stories is all about the concept of fitting in, and of how one does not necessarily need to speak the language of a place in order to fit in there. That said, much of the second part of the book, entitled Deux, deals with Sedaris' life in Normandy, France, after emigrating from North Carolina, with no grasp of the French language and no ability to mimic the ornate twists and turns and rolls of the "r" that punctuate it.
Part one of the two-part book details Sedaris' life in America, growing up from life in suburban Raleigh to branching out on his own in New York City. Many of the stories were read on a radio show called The American Life by the author.
The year after the book was published, the film rights were already hotly contested, ultimately going to Wayne Wang, but Sedaris changed his mind about having his family portrayed on the screen at all, and the men agreed to shelve the project.
David Sedaris first came to prominence in 1992 when his essay Santaland Diaries was broadcast on National Public Radio. Two years after this debut, he published his first collection of short stories, Barrel Fever.
In 2018, Sedaris was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.