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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (88,984 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Sedaris Narrator: David Sedaris Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781600241833
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When You Are Engulfed in Flames, a series of autobiographical essays, was written by humorist and self-styled wit David Sedaris.

From testing the boundary of romantic bonds when Hugh lances a pus filled blemish on his back, to stretching the limit of lethargy when he snatches water from a glass of flowers to fill the café maker after his water is shut off, David takes the most banal and strange memories to uncover new dimensions of empathy and terror among friends, foes, and family.

Ever had a cough drop fall from your mouth to a stranger's lap? Ever blocked the sunlight and twittering birds with records plastered over your window? Ever bought drugs from a peddler in a mobile park in North Carolina? Sedaris most certainly has.

Ending with a voyage to Japan in order to stop smoking, this number six addition to his series of autobiographical essays is one for which fans and critiques waited eagerly. Though it is acidic, it is also a wiser take on the absurdity of being alive. Like his other works, Sedaris will only continue to prompt, inspire, and entertain.

David Sedaris is an award winning author, humorist, and radio commentator. He came to public attention with his journalistic style Santaland Diaries, which was broadcast over public radio to a wide audience. Obsessive compulsive and bourgeoisie, he makes light of his former occupations, his family history, and does so with a keen eye for self-deprecation. His works have sold over eight million copies worldwide.

Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him all over again.

Sedaris tests the limits of love when his longtime partner, Hugh lances a boil from his backside and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring windows with LP covers to protect his house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life’s most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. When You Are Engulfed in Flames culminates in a brilliantly funny (and never before published) account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s not just that Sedaris’ crisp prose is humorous. What makes his work a consistent joy to read is his deliciously skewed vision of the world, and his deadpan delivery.”

    Boston Globe

  • The new book by renowned gay humorist David Sedaris is even better on CD; Sedaris reads the stories, and his comedic timing adds another layer of wit to the already hilarious prose."
  • The new book by renowned gay humorist David Sedaris is even better on CD; Sedaris reads the stories, and his comedic timing adds another layer of wit to the already hilarious prose. L.A. Times
  • “The preeminent humorist of his generation.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Sedaris’ sparkling essays always shimmer.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This latest collection of 22 essays proves that not only does Sedaris still have it, but he’s also getting better.” 

    Booklist

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A #1 USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2008 Grammy Award Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie Owens | 2/10/2014

    " Truly funny! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cornelia (Corrie) | 2/9/2014

    " I love David Sedaris, always good for a laugh "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nora | 1/23/2014

    " odd man. interesting life. i have to be in the right mood to read him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lyricsninja | 1/22/2014

    " another decent offering from david sedaris. his quirky, twisting style was evident, although this one is a little less strong than some of his previous writings. it was a rather slow leisurely read for me, as there was nothing really compelling me to turn the pages, but it was indeed well written. i wouldnt read it a second time, but i would give it a positive nod if someone were to ask my opinion of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawna O | 1/9/2014

    " A hilarious collection of essays that had me actually laughing out loud in many places. Absolutely recommended to anyone with a sense of humor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy Hill | 1/8/2014

    " Some very funny parts, like laugh out loud funny. However, not as many as I had hoped. The last part of the book, he details his daily struggle to quit smoking, which was a bit tedious to read. I will probably continue to read Sedaris books, because I thought Naked was so blasted funny! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Glass | 1/7/2014

    " I liked the second half more than the first; frankly, I found the first half fairly depressing. Having traveled a bit in Japan, reading "The Smoking Section" was hilarious. I also loved the descriptions of seat mates on airplane trips in "Crybaby" and "Solutionto Saturday's Puzzle." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 12/30/2013

    " hilarious of course. Stand alone brief tidbits. Perfect for a little pick me up at lunch time or while waiting for what ever it is we are constantly standing in line for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amandine | 12/23/2013

    " I was amused! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremiah Walter | 12/21/2013

    " Amusing morbidity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauretta | 11/3/2013

    " I listened to the audiobook "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bree | 10/24/2013

    " As Always I enjoy a sedaris book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Petra | 9/21/2013

    " This book is perfect to listen to while commuting. It's funny, quirky, entertaining. I enjoyed Sedaris' outlook at life's situations, the characters he meets & knows and his perspective from living in countries outside the States. A fun book of short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy Lemlyn | 9/14/2013

    " Not my favorite Sedaris book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennie | 9/3/2013

    " Nope, back to the library asap. Don't understand his appeal, but thank him for the inspiration to work on my writing. Cheers David. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Raina Murdock | 7/27/2013

    " Not as good or as laugh out loud funny as Naked or other previous books - but still enjoyable and evoked some chuckles here and there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Veronica | 7/25/2013

    " Always love his books! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany Wyse-Fisher | 5/30/2013

    " There were parts where I laughed out loud. He has a way of writing about instances that I really like. However, it was a little hard for me to relate to. I would still recommend it as an easy-read for someone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leiah | 2/19/2013

    " I remember this being on the bestseller's list years ago, but I didn't know anything about it. It's a collection of short stories, and they were quite entertaining. Full of memorable descriptions from a funny point of view. An excellent and charming read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 3/14/2012

    " Funny. Didn't love the last story, but there's a lot to like in this collection. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carolanne | 12/9/2011

    " I've read the 1st three stories. I just can't get into it. It's possible that it's just my frame of mind at the moment, so I'm going to put it away & pick up a different book & come back to it later. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 EMi Spicer | 11/13/2011

    " A very pleasant and often funny book, though sometimes a little slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 7/20/2011

    " Wise and funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kendra Feinstein | 7/19/2011

    " My favorite part was when Amy helped him study Japanese. Sooo funny! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 stacy | 7/13/2011

    " not my favorite, but still some good stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethgentner | 5/23/2011

    " He is very funny, but boy it is a biting humor. His earlier pieces I enjoyed more. You have to be prepared to laugh and to grimace with discomfort at his writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cristina | 5/21/2011

    " Love David Sedaris and especially love listening to him read his own stories. His delivery is hysterical. Couldn't wait to get in the car every morning so I could turn it back on :) Yay for joyful commutes! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Elizabeth | 5/19/2011

    " Laughed out loud! Read this during jury duty - could barely contain myself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 5/19/2011

    " This is my first book of David Sedaris. This book is hilarious and I love his style! Will definitely read more of his books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danimau | 5/15/2011

    " A unique read. Each chapter is like a short story of its own. What an interesting autobiography-esque read. Somewhat of a dark paradoy, very funny at times. Never seen a book quite like it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ma800m | 5/15/2011

    " I love how David Sedaris writes, so funny and so wrong at the same time. Great book just like all his other books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gage | 5/12/2011

    " Very funny, at times philosophical if you let it be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emma | 5/10/2011

    " Absolutely screamingly funny. Another gem. I am now on a mission to read everything he has wrote! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maigen | 5/10/2011

    " Super funny. Laughed out loud. I like that is was short stories, so it was easy to read in pieces. Really hysterical. Reminded me of me. Same humor. And man, I'm funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 5/10/2011

    " Next to Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris' best work. Hilarious! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 alysa | 5/4/2011

    " Parts of this book were funny, however the majority of it was very crass. Very much like a Saturday Night Live episode, which I think takes a certain kind of sense of humor to enjoy. The kind of sense of humor that I don't particularly have. "

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About the Author
Author David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a playwright and a regular commentator for National Public Radio. He is also the author of the bestselling Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Me Talk Pretty One Day. He travels extensively through Europe and the United States on lecture tours and lives in England.