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Publisher's Summary

David Sedaris' 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' sixth story collection is a fresh masterpiece of comic writing.

©2008 David Sedaris (P)2008 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

I have never heard of David Sedaris before but bought the book anyway. I am so glad I did. Was well worth paying for as I had no credits left. I have listened over and over to this and loved every second of it. My partner has even request that I stop listening to it before I go to sleep as I have been keeping him awake with my chuckling! Sorry Darl....lol

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

His wit makes any subject entertaining, some sections are almost straight out stand-up comedy, and not only is he a great writer but fantastic narrator - brilliant at accents and impersonations. Lot's of laugh out loud bits, only thing I didn't like was when he went a little bit too far up the gross-out scale in the bits about the morgue and boil-lancing, but if you know him I guess you're going to expect that.
An extra star for self-narration alone, huge bonus.

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Sedaris

The most exquisite and captivating observational humour. Always irreverent and self-effacing in equal measure. The live sessions are particularly enjoyable.

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The book to read when trapped in German airport

If you could sum up When You Are Engulfed in Flames in three words, what would they be?

uplifting 'funnyashell' stunning

What other book might you compare When You Are Engulfed in Flames to and why?

David Rakoff

What does David Sedaris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

pure honesty and impeccable delivery.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

cried laughing, also eased relationship travel tension when listening to it as a couple.

Any additional comments?

Best thing to share with significant others.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shirley
  • 11-01-08

Utterly wonderful!

I stumbled accidentally across David Sedaris about 6 months ago, and as I type this I experience a frisson of horror at the idea that I could so easily have missed him altogether!

This book is typical of his work: by turns hilarious, heart-rending and cringe-making (but in the best sort of way). Never boring, and at the end leaving me feeling bereft and wondering whether to just fast-forward back to the start and listen to it all over again.

If you've never tried David Sedaris then do yourself a big favour and download this. If you already know him then rest assured that this is more of the brilliant same :)

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn Stevenson
  • 01-25-10

What an odd man...

This is my first expedition into the world of David Sedaris, and it was a very enjoyable, funny one! Great book. I'll definitely be getting some some more from this author.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 04-22-13

A Master Storyteller

I am a new convert to the work of David Sedaris and I am very pleased that he still narrates his own audiobooks, as a key part of the nuance of his wonderfully meandering stories is his soft, languid delivery. And this title does not disappoint in any way; every story is a stand-alone and yet part of the whole that is the author's life. By turns funny, poignant, angry, confused or just plain mad Sedaris weaves a world that is fascinating and unusual and yet instantly recognisable. A must-have title for your collection

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rhubarb, Rhubarb
  • 04-13-13

Sardonic & Delicious

David's sardonic honesty & generous sharing of his "inner voice" is 5 star listening.Always engrossing, Sedariss rare talent will have you snorting with laughter or marvelling at how well he describes "real life". Always a pleasure to listen to, & I regularly revisit all his recordings!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 03-07-12

Wonderful!

I came across David Sedaris on R4. The short story - both written and read by him - was delightful and hysterically funny. On the strength of that reading I downloaded this collection, which is simply brilliant. My only problem is that every time I listen, I know I'm nearer to finishing. He's definitely the funniest writer I have come across in years

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • chris
  • 04-13-13

meet david sedaris you're in for a treat

DS manages to be both incredibly profound and witty at the same time. Without any faux sentimentality (some achievement for an american) he comments about life, love and existence.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • steve
  • 04-07-13

when you are engulfed in giggles

Some audio books will let you quietly get on with things whilst listening - not always possible with this one I found. The delivery is so deadpan, the anecdotes so funny that I could do nothing but surrender to it: settle down and relish the outrageous misfortunes of one of America's greatest mild misanthropes!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 04-07-13

Perfect for cold nights

I am a fan of David Sedaris, and so I expect I would enjoy any of his books. When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a strong collection with clever repeated themes and a good spread of stories. I have been able to let my parents-in-law listen to a few stories without fear of offending them, however you must be warned that Sedaris delights in saying things which most people simply will not. Still, it would be worth the cost for 'In the Waiting Room' alone.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Birgit
  • 02-25-12

Hilarious

David Sedaris is brilliant. I often listen to audiobooks in bed before going to sleep....but that wasn't a good idea with this one as I didn't get to sleep for hours because I couldn't stop listening and laughing. Great value for money because I've listened to it several times now and still find it funny.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Squeaky Joe
  • 03-13-21

Funny, touching and thought-provoking tales

This is the sixth book in the author’s collection of personal stories and is the second of his that I’ve bought. Having heard a lot of his work on BBC radio, I got the audio version of this one, read by the author himself and which also includes a selection of live recordings from his lecture tours. Like everything Sedaris writes, this is a heady mix of funny, touching and thought-provoking tales. Covering such niceties as Japanese social habits, how to quit smoking and getting along with your neighbours, allowing him plenty of room to dig into the nature of relationships with friends and strangers. My particular favourites this time round would be the author’s friendship (or otherwise) with New York neighbour Helen (whose lack of political correctness had me in stitches) and the consequences of spitting a lozenge onto a fellow passenger’s lap during a plane flight. Also, his solutions to a certain crossword puzzle reminded me that sometimes it’s not good to drive while enjoying a David Sedaris audiobook.

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  • rah
  • 03-18-15

great read

david sadaris is discriptive and funny, he makes a good narator that suits the obsevational critical comedy he commands so well.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • gina
  • 12-28-17

Maybe better when read

I didn’t finish this book - I love David Sedaris but This was not great to listen to.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-15-17

Easy Listening

Loved it! Sedaris is exceptionally talented, affable, and clearly big-hearted. Very enjoyable read. Highly recommend!

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  • Kylie
  • 05-17-15

Thoroughly entertaining!

David Sedaris narrating his own work is fantastic, narrated by anyone else it would not be the same. His stories are simultaneously ordinary and hilarious. I found myself chuckling out loud in public on numerous occasions while listening to this book.