Humorist David Sedaris has made a career out of relating the silliest parts of his life in essay form.
In the 2004 story “Possession,” he and his boyfriend had the perfect Paris apartment, but they were being evicted in favor of their landlord’s daughter. Their search for a new place is wacky, disgusting (they find some human teeth scattered on one bedroom floor), and–for months–completely fruitless.
Finally, they find a place. Just after moving in, they take a vacation to Amsterdam. While wandering the city, they stumble upon a corner packed with tourists visiting the Secret Annex, the hiding place of Sedaris’ fellow memoirist Anne Frank. “It took me by surprise,” Sedaris says. “I had the impression she lived in a dump, but it’s actually a very beautiful building, right on the canal.”
Sedaris and his boyfriend can’t help critiquing the place, commenting on the design, the layout, and just what changes they’d make. It’s a typical Sedarisian travesty, but in the end, Sedaris comes to a strangely moving insight about Anne Frank, and about the ways our houses retain our histories long after we’ve moved on.
September 5, 2011