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When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Cover of When You Are Engulfed in Flames
When You Are Engulfed in Flames
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"David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art," (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.
Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina . In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).
Praise for When You Are Engulfed in Flames:
"Older, wiser, smarter and meaner, Sedaris...defies the odds once again by delivering an intelligent take on the banalities of an absurd life." —Kirkus Reviews
This latest collection proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he's also getting better....Sedaris's best stuff will still—after all this time—move, surprise, and entertain." —Booklist
Table of Contents:

It's Catching
Keeping Up
The Understudy
This Old House
Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?
Road Trips
What I Learned
That's Amore
The Monster Mash
In the Waiting Room
Solutions to Saturday's Puzzle
Adult Figures Charging Toward a Concrete Toadstool
Memento Mori
All the Beauty You Will Ever Need
Town and Country
Aerial
The Man in the Hut
Of Mice and Men
April in Paris
Crybaby
Old Faithful
The Smoking Section
"David Sedaris's ability to transform the mortification of everyday life into wildly entertaining art," (The Christian Science Monitor) is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this remarkable new book.
Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina . In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).
Praise for When You Are Engulfed in Flames:
"Older, wiser, smarter and meaner, Sedaris...defies the odds once again by delivering an intelligent take on the banalities of an absurd life." —Kirkus Reviews
This latest collection proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he's also getting better....Sedaris's best stuff will still—after all this time—move, surprise, and entertain." —Booklist
Table of Contents:

It's Catching
Keeping Up
The Understudy
This Old House
Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?
Road Trips
What I Learned
That's Amore
The Monster Mash
In the Waiting Room
Solutions to Saturday's Puzzle
Adult Figures Charging Toward a Concrete Toadstool
Memento Mori
All the Beauty You Will Ever Need
Town and Country
Aerial
The Man in the Hut
Of Mice and Men
April in Paris
Crybaby
Old Faithful
The Smoking Section
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 28, 2008
    Sedaris, king of the poignantly absurd, triumphs in this sixth essay collection (after 2004's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
    ). There is less focus here on the Sedaris clan as a whole, though the various members make memorable and often hilarious appearances. In “The Understudy,” the Sedaris siblings band together to battle the odious babysitter Mrs. Peacock, while in “Town and Country,” Sedaris and sister Amy discuss what their father would be most offended to find on his daughter's coffee-table (hint: The Joy of Sex
    comes in a distant second). Leaving America behind, Sedaris also regales readers with his experiences around the globe, from sitting in a Parisian doctor's office wearing only his underwear in “In the Waiting Room” to warding off birds in the French countryside with record albums in “Aerial.” In the collection's longest essay, “The Smoking Section,” Sedaris recounts his three-month stay in Tokyo, where he successfully quits smoking and unsuccessfully attempts to learn Japanese. Sedaris records in “Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?” his more glaring mistakes in life, but he should be satisfied with the knowledge that this latest endeavor is anything but.

  • Booklist

    April 15, 2008
    With essay collectionssuch asNaked (1997) and Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Sedaris kicked the door down for the quirky memoir genre and left it open for writers like Augusten Burroughs and Jeannette Walls to moseyon through.Sometimesthe originators of a certain trend in literature are surpassed by their own disciplesbut, this is Sedaris were talking about.When it comes to fashioning the sardonic wisecrack, the humiliating circumstance, and the absurdist fantasy, theres nobody better. Unfortunately, being in a league of your own often means competing with yourself.This latest collection of 22 essays provesthat not onlydoes Sedaris stillhave it, buthes also getting better. True, the terrain is familiar. The essays Old Faithful and Thats Amore again feature Sedaris overly competent boyfriend, Hugh. And nutty sister Amycan be found leafing through bestial pornography in Town and Country. Present also are Sedaris favored topics: death, compulsion, unwanted sexual advances, corporal decay, and more death. Nevertheless, Sedaris best stuff will stillafter all this timemove, surprise, and entertain.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)

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    Little, Brown and Company
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