When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

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Synopsis

"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
 

About David Sedaris

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David Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's "This American Life." He is the author of the books Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Barrel Fever.
 
Published June 3, 2008 by Little, Brown and Company. 336 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When You Are Engulfed in Flames

The New York Times

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“It sometimes helps to remind myself that not everyone is like me,” David Sedaris writes in his spotty new collection, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.” “Not everyone writes things down in a notebook and then transcribes them into a diary.

Jun 10 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

The New York Times

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“I’ve been around for nearly half a century,” he moans, later adding, “In another 25 years I’ll be doddering, and 25 years after that I’ll be one of the figures haunting my Paris bedroom.” He tallies up the last 25 years, the prime of his life, and isn’t impressed by the sum: “How had 9,125 relat...

Jun 15 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

BC Books

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Distinguished silver screen actor Edmund Gwenn once jested that “dying is easy, comedy is difficult.” Perhaps that is why essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson stayed away from it –- the comedy, I mean.

Aug 04 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Book Reporter

Sedaris --- Greek, middle-class, gay, and with his own set of neuroses --- is an individual to whom we can all relate --- if not in specifics, at least in the sense of a self-conscious, second-guessing, blundering and selfish existence.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Entertainment Weekly

See the EW.com Q&A with David Sedaris Originally posted May 30, 2008 Published in issue #995-996 Jun 06, 2008 Order article reprints

May 30 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Pajiba

At the time of writing, I’ve settled on a quick meteor strike to the head — a quick death and one that will be a family story for generations.

Nov 24 2009 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Pajiba

At the same time, though, I miss the younger, more irreverent David Sedaris, and this collection didn’t seem to be playing to his strengths quite as much as the earlier volume that I read.

Mar 17 2010 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Pajiba

There are stories about living in France and other countries abroad, there are stories about his family, and stories about the everyday things that he notices.

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San Francisco Chronicle

For those already acquainted, the laughs are smaller and fewer in "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" - particularly when compared with one of Sedaris' past books, the riotous and moving "Naked" - so, too, are the quiet, humane revelations that for so long served as emotional ballast to Sedaris' co...

Jun 29 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

About.com Bestsellers

ProsSedaris is a sharp, sardonic, and likeable writerCons'When You Are Engulfed in Flames' doesn’t have the same intensity of wit as his previous worksSedaris’ book is not appropriate for young readersDescriptionDavid Sedaris’ stories include hilarious and poignant memories of his childhoodAs an ...

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Nights and Weekends

Sedaris tells us about their New York City neighbor, Helen, the gravelly voiced senior with a cigarette in her mouth, keeping vigil at her apartment window to watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood.

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Bookmarks Magazine

But as Sedaris embraces middle age, one critic fears that he "seems awfully close to exhausting his material" (Entertainment Weekly), and the New York Times, while highlighting a few standout essays, cited a total lack of introspection.

Jun 09 2008 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Insight News

KW: I was familiar with Jack and the Beanstalk, but I don't remember reading Jack
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Sep 17 2015 | Read Full Review of When You Are Engulfed in Flames

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