David Sedaris used to dig up his pets’ graves, and is something of a taxidermy aficionado, but in When You Are Engulfed in Flames he discovers his own death. First, a human skeleton he buys as a gift for his partner Hugh begins speaking to him, then he works to quit smoking. The result is a memoir just as funny and idiosyncratic, but more self-aware, more serious, and more emotional than his other work. Recommended By Britt A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"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).
"The Sedaris genius is to be incredibly particular, not to mention peculiar, and yet take fantastic and rapid leaps to the universal." New York Observer
"Sedaris once again enchants and amuses with his observations about the absurdity of ordinary life situations in this, his sixth collection of essays." Library Journal
"When it comes to fashioning the sardonic wisecrack, the humiliating circumstance, and the absurdist fantasy, there’s nobody better." Booklist
"The preeminent humorist of his generation...His reluctant charm and talent for observing every inch of the human condition remain intact." Entertainment Weekly
"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
About the Author
Starting with his deadpan, disarmingly funny pieces on NPR and continuing with his collections of short fiction and essays, David Sedaris is one of the best, sharpest humorists writing today. His quirky history and family are rich material, but he's also just as hilarious simply satirizing Christmas cards or mocking his own vices. Sedaris is the author of the internationally bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.