When You Are Engulfed In Flames, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


David Sedaris's remarkable ability to uncover the hilarious absurdity teeming just below the surface of everyday life is elevated to wilder and more entertaining heights than ever in this new book of stories.Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life - the etiquette of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger or how to soundproof your windows with LP covers against neurotic songbirds - to the most deeply resonant human truths.

Taking in the parasitic worm that once lived in his mother-in-law's leg, an encounter with a dingo and the purchase of a human skeleton, and culminating in a brilliant account of his attempt to quit smoking - in Tokyo - David Sedaris's sixth story collection is a fresh masterpiece of comic writing.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780349116471

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

While I cannot fault this book I can (and do) find humour which is unleavened by anything else somewhat unrelieved and cloying. I enjoyed half of it, then stopped.

Review by

As I read When You Are Engulfed in Flames I thought about what I could say about this hilarious book of essays in my review. The key point I wanted to make is this: David Sedaris has a way of making the everyday things that happen in our lives comical.Wait! Why is that my prevailing thought? When is the everyday shopping for a human skeleton and then trying to figure out how to gift wrap it? Or finding yourself in your underwear in the waiting room of the doctor's office? David Sedaris has a gift of relating to you through his own bizarre experiences and then making you laugh at the absurdity of it all.Here are some of my favorite quotes:In St. Louis the bow tie was characterized as "very Charlie McCarthy," while in Chicago a young man defined it as "the pierced eyebrow of the Republican party." This sent the bow tie back into my suitcase, where it begged forgiveness...It sometimes helps to remind myself that not everyone is like me. Not everyone writes things down in a notebook and then transcribes them into a diary. Fewer still will take that diary, clean it up a bit, and read it in front of an audience."Maybe the recorded birds are saying something about free food," he suggested, but to me the message seemed much darker: a call to anarchy, or possibly even murder.Check it out!