Book Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames

18 06 2010

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a well-known author of strange essays. I suppose that’s the best way to frame him and this collection: quite strange and quite entertaining. The essays are straightforward slices of the bizarre, touching on schizophrenia, death, and strange solicitations from people who pick up hitchhikers. Sedaris matter-of-factly presents each scene to his audience, describing each bizarre situation and extravagant character from his life with a dry sort of with that eases the reader comfortably into each absurdity, making it easy to accept them as the reality of the novel.

On a purely shallow level this book is very easy to read. The tone is conversational, as if you were listening to a story told by a very sarcastic friend who has lived a relatively quirky life. There are some truly hilarious parts– the sicker your sense of humor, the more of these seem to crop up.

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