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When You Are Engulfed in Flames
 
 

When You Are Engulfed in Flames [Kindle Edition]

David Sedaris
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Product Description

Review

There are pages in this short story collection that made me giggle so violently that my lungs hurt (THE TIMES)

He has a lovely, sinuous way of writing, saving the gag until you've forgotten you were expecting one. (SUNDAY TIMES)

Good stuff (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

A humourist in the Woody Allen mould (INDEPENDENT)

Adam Mars-Jones, Observer

'A virtual Klondike of darkly glittering anecdotes'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B003ZK50SY
  • Publisher: Abacus (16 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049MPHH6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,587 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

David Sedaris lives in Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner and most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy's. Several of his plays have been produced, and he is a regular contributor to ESQUIRE and Public Radio International's 'This American Life'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good pick me up in a free 20 minutes book 24 Dec. 2009
Format:Paperback
Anyone who lives in the US and listens to NPR (the closest American equvalent to the BBC) will have heard of David Sedaris. He is a regular contributor to "This American Life," a show hosted by Ira Glass that looks one aspect of American life each week. The show can vary from the the deep (how people adapt to grief in their lives) to the humourous (what happens to teens in the run up to their prom). The show is segmented, with a number of stories told. Sedaris is used in the show when he has written some story about the topic at hand. His stories typically cover some aspect of his life (though I supected they have been "amped up" for effect) and are read in the form of a monolgue.

This book is a collection of essays that talk about aspects of his life. They are lightly amusing tales, but I don't think it's neccesarily a good thing to read the stories in quick succession. The problem is that if you read one story it can be funny. If you read two they can be humourous. Read 3 or more in succession and I suspect that you're going to think he's whiney.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book, just a book that works best in short doses. Incidentally, the title comes from those terribly polite (and poorly translated) instructions that you see in Japan. It told him what to do if his hotel room was on fire.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. 3 April 2013
By Dotty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book and pretty much anything David Sedaris writes. These are great stories full of his wit and observations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When you are engulfed in time to spare 4 Dec. 2011
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Is there anyone better to read when you want to relax and laugh a bit, than David Sedaris? I still think "Santaland Diaries" is must-read material for this time of year and "Me Talk Pretty One Day" is one of the funniest books I've ever read, full stop. So it's a given that when he publishes a new book I have to buy it immediately. I know, "When You are Engulfed in Flames" came out in 2008, this is 2011, but I did try and read it 3 years ago but I gave up frustrated. The solution to completing it this time? - audiobooks.

Sedaris reading his stories is a different beast to reading them yourself. I love podcasts and felt that him reading his stories was like listening to a podcast, telling everyone funny stories that had happened to him, and so I got through this book in a day after a few enjoyable hours spent listening to him while driving.

His bad baby sitter, Mrs Peacock, was a funny and strange character who demanded back scratches and that David and his sisters clean her house while their parents were on holiday; his Italian neighbour in New York, Helen, who was this extremely bullying and unlikable person and who beat up a disabled kid for accidentally pocketing a biro of hers; and the Normandy neighbour who turned out to be child molester.

While his characterisations of real people are always brilliant, what I liked better were the anecdotes centred around himself - arguing with cab drivers for whom English was a second language; giving up smoking in Japan; or sitting on a plane in first class next to a Polish man who couldn't stop crying as he'd just buried his mother. The foreign element tips it over for me as it reminds me of the brilliance of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" which also focused on language and communication issues.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars funny and honest 3.5 * 22 Nov. 2010
By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
'My friend Patsy was telling a story. 'So I'm at the movie theatre,' she said,'and I've got my coat all neatly laid out against the back of my seat when this guy comes along-' And here I stopped her, because I've always wondered about this coat business.' Typical Sedaris - realistic dilaogue and gossipy love of the apparently unimportant detail.

These stories are funny and they are self-revealing and honest. I haven't scored them higher because they are so similar. There are some great characters - the terrible babysitter, Mrs Peacock who makes them scratch her back and pick up dog turds on the lawn - or their NY neighbour Helen swearing and cooking loathsome food offerings.

Very amusing and probably best read when picked up now and then, rather than all together as I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. 9 April 2013
By Xenia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
How can you not love David Sedaris? Highly recommend - my favorite being The Understudy. I started with that one back in 2008 and have been hooked ever since..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gin and Tonic for the soul 15 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Touching and funny in equal measure; wonderfully crafted with searing honesty and outrageous wit. I read it in one sitting.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars funny and honest ***1/2 3 Nov. 2008
By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
'My friend Patsy was telling a story. 'so I'm at the movie theatre,' she said,'and I've got my coat all neatly laid out against the back of my seat when this guy comes along-' And here I stopped her , because I've always wondered about this coat business.' Typical Sedaris - realistic dilaogue and gossipy love of the apparently unimportant detail.

These are funny and they are self revealing and honest. I haven't scored them higher because they are so similar. There are some great characters - the terrible babysitter, Mrs Peacock who makes them scratch her back and pick up dog turds on the lawn - or their NY neighbour Helen swearing and cooking loathsome food offerings.

Very amusing and probably best read when picked up now and then, rather than all together as I did.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of a marvellous bunch 27 Oct. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I guess the only reason you're reading this is to find out if this is as good as all his other books. In my opinion, this is the best of the lot. And while I don't think his changes of pace, and attempts at pathos/bathos have ever been very successful, his all-out humour is brilliant. It's that rare and wonderful thing; a book that causes you to laugh out loud and embarrass yourself and irritate others while doing so, In fact, there's a bit about that in here too...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book though worth listening to the Searis reading his ...
Great book though worth listening to the Searis reading his won stuff. he brings it alive wonderfully and makes the reading of the book even better.
Published 20 days ago by Happy Pappy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Laughed out loud numerous times and relished the characters candid observations.
Published 24 days ago by Petra Tilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like anything by David Sedaris and enjoyed this as much as his other work.
Published 1 month ago by 6363Sandra
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Strange book full of disparate anecdotes but quite diverting and mildly amusing.
Published 2 months ago by JPG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all fine
Published 2 months ago by Beattie
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
Classic Sedaris - delightful read.
Published 3 months ago by V. M. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious
I can't get enough of Sedaris' snarky wit and humour. A great light, quick read which had me laughing out loud.
Published 3 months ago by lauren
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful, wonderful writing. Read, laugh out loud, enjoy and savour
Published 4 months ago by Howard Robbins
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as I thought it was going to be - ...
Not as funny as I thought it was going to be - but I still enjoyed it. Good writer and I'll buy other of his books.
Published 5 months ago by Sue'sViews
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud
As usual with David Sedaris the accounts of his experiences are extremely funny. I am working my way through his books. Recommended!
Published 9 months ago by Jenny D
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