Half Empty

Publisher: Anchor Canada
The inimitably witty David Rakoff, This American Life stalwart and bestselling author, looks at the modern world and his own life in defense of the commonsensical notion that you should always assume the worst.

In this deeply funny memoir, David Rakoff examines his own life and the realities of our sunny, gosh-everyone-can-be-a-star contemporary culture. He finds that, pretty much as a universal rule, the best is not yet to come, adversity will triumph, justice will not be served, and your dreams won't come true. Although David has a long-nurtured abhorrence of "inspirational" memoirs, much of the book recounts his own personal experiences: the moment when being a tiny child no longer meant adults found him charming but instead meant other children found him a fun target; the late evening in Manhattan when he was young and the city seemed to brim with such possibility that the street shimmered in the moonlight — as he drew closer he realized the streets actually shimmered with rats in a feeding frenzy. He also weaves in his brand of acute and Oscar Wilde-worthy cultural criticism (the sad state of the outdated "House of Tomorrow" at Disneyland, for one). It all adds up to proof of the proposition: Always be a pessimist, and you'll never be disappointed.

From the Hardcover edition.


The Bleak Shall Inherit
We were so happy. It was miserable.
Although it was briefly marvelous and strange to see a car parked outside an office, the wide hallway used like a street, many stories above the city.
The millennium had turned. The planes had not...
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"Rakoff has a self-awareness that could be recreated only by a team of geneticists working in a lab. . . . File Rakoff under 'essayist, brilliant'."
— The New York Times

"[Rakoff] seems like the kind of person one would want to be seated next to at a dinner party--quick with repartee and a scathing put-down, but also capable of deep insight."
Winnipeg Free Press

"[Rakoff] wields his talent for the sharpest, most adroit social and personal commentary like it's nothing, confirming that he can do the hard work of both fiction and journalism at once."
Eye Weekly