CULTURE

Sedaris talks pretty at the HAU

There are no «star authors» in Greece. The term refers to the writers of huge best-sellers that cause paralysis in bookstores whenever they appear, who fill entire stadiums and are guests on the Oprah Winfrey show. The recent talk that David Sedaris gave to the Hellenic American Union (HAU) gave local audiences a taste of the «literary star system.» Sedaris belongs to that category of writers who have the ability to move lots of people. That could be because his autobiographies, such as «Me Talk Pretty One Day» and «Naked» (available in Greek from Melani publishers), appeal to a wide reading audience irrespective of taste, class and education. Shortly after 8.30 p.m. on April 7, Sedaris entered an amphitheater that was full of people, yet much quieter than the ones he must be used to in the US. When the author, who is of Greek descent, enters a room he is accompanied by endless applause and giggles. It is a bit like having Woody Allen walk into a room, you just have to giggle. Since this was Sedaris’s first appearance in Athens, it came as no surprise that his Greek descent came up a lot in the conversation. «If I ever hear again somebody say the French are rude, I will advise them to come to Greece,» he said. Greek manners must have made quite an impression on Sedaris, who produced some hilarious imitations. «When you talk to a Greek, the words ‘mum’ and «dad’ come up unexpectedly very often. In the US you can talk to a friend and not know whether their parents are alive or dead.» He confirmed that he enjoys business trips and having contact with people. «In Germany, I love asking people if they have seen their parents naked. Any other audience would be shocked by such a question, but Germans usually ask me if I am referring to the most recent time.» A gifted speaker Sedaris justified to the full his reputation as a highly entertaining speaker. There were even people with tears in their eyes. Only the reading of three short stories in both Greek and English may have been a bit tiring, but nothing could stop the writer, who was in great form. His wide smile and beaming eyes were ultimately the best compensation for all those who stood in line, book in hand.