Drop, Tuck, and Roll with Laughter
David Sedaris. When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Little, Brown, and Company (2008). 323. ppl $15.99.
David Sedaris returns with another laugh-out-loud and heartwarming collection of essays, concluding with his travels to Japan as a part of his decision to quit smoking. He says at the end of his trip, “Between the plane tickets, the three-month apartment rental, the school tuition, and the unused patches and lozenges, it had cost close to twenty thousand dollars to quit smoking. Thats 2 million yen and, if things keep going the way they have been, around 18 euros.” What may be the most enspelling about his stories is that once the reader grasps the fact that these circumstances can actually occur within the realm of human possibility, there is nothing that does not allow them to happen to anyone. It’s not the story itself that’s so extraordinary, it is Sedaris’s masterful prose that brings seemingly commonplace situations to life in very uncommonplace ways. This, combined with or apart from any of Sedaris’s former works, will keep anyone entertained for a very long time.