When You Are Engulfed In Flames By David Sedaris

    Eh.

    That’s my review: eh.

    With maybe a shoulder shrug.

    Someone better read than I recently remarked something to the effect of, “Once you’ve read one David Sedaris book, haven’t you read them all?”

    Yes.

    And Kurt Vonnegut.

    And several others. But that’s neither here nor there.

    Sedaris’s recent book makes such a dismissive comment truer than ever. For readers familiar with Holidays on Ice, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Me Talk Pretty One Day, there is little Funny and Original to enjoy from When You Are Engulfed in Flames. And especially for readers of The New Yorker like myself, where most of the essays in this publication were initially published, there is a lot to be desired.

    A few highlights include an explanation for why Sedaris does not believe in God: “Because I have hair on my back, and a lot of other people, people who kill and rob and make life miserable, don’t. A real God wouldn’t let that happen.” And his prediction that, “It’s safe to assume that by 2025, guns will be sold in vending machines, but you won’t be able to smoke anywhere in America.” With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on D.C’s gun ban, Sedaris’s prescience is foreboding.

    But what I found most interesting about When You Are Engulfed in Flames was the About the Author: “David Sedaris’s half-dozen books have been translated into twenty-five languages, including Estonian, Greek, and Bahasa. His essays appear frequently in The New Yorker and are heard on Public Radio International’s This American Life.”

    It was the first sentence that intrigued me. There’s a good David Sedaris essay to be had from that line. Did David Sedaris himself write it? If not, but the editor did, why the importance on Estonian, Greek, and Bahasa and not the other 22 languages? Does translation into these three languages indicate a literary achievement of some sort? Is it a big deal for Estonians, Greeks, and Indonesians to be reading David Sedaris? While Microsoft Word’s spell check wants Bahasa to be Bahamas, Bahaman, Batas, Balas, or Banana, Bahasa is in fact spelled correctly. It is the native language of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, and therefore one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. So for David Sedaris to be available in this language is no small feat. Why then Estonian and Greek? And what are the other 22 neglected languages? Why are they less special? 9 When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris

    Collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more.

    Sedaris tests the limits of love when 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 the windows with LP covers to protect the 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. Culminating in a brilliantly funny account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking.

    تاریخ بهنگام رسانی روز بیست و سوم ماه اکتبر سال 2015میلادی

    عنوان: وقتی شعله‌ها شما را در بر می‌گیرند؛ نویسنده: دیوید سداریس؛ مترجم: نادر قبله‌ای؛ ویراستار احمد کدیور؛ تهران، مروارید، سال1393؛ در267ص؛ شابک9789641913030؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده ی 21م

    این کتاب نخستین بار در سال2008میلادی منتشر شد؛ «سداریس» در این کتاب با هنرمندی توانسته اند رویدادهای ساده و همیشگی زندگی را به سرگرمی و لذت بدل کنند؛ رویدادهایی بسیار دل انگیز در این کتاب بازگو میشوند: از زندگی در مناطق روستایی «فرانسه» و درست کردن قهوه با آب گلدان گرفته، تا یادمانی شرم آور، اما بسیار خنده دار انجام معامله در خانه ای متحرک در «کارولینای شمالی»، و سفری هیجان انگیز به «توکیو» برای ترک سیگار؛ کتاب ششمین سری از نوشتارهای «دیوید سداریس» به شمار میآید

    نوشتارهای «دیوید سداریس» را در «ایالات متحده آمریکا» با نوشتارهای «وودی آلن» سینماگر و طنزپرداز، برابر هم می‌نهند؛ «سداریس» داستان‌های خویش را به سادگی بازگو می‌کنند، و «وودی آلن»، انگار کنید گمشده‌ ای در این دنیا باشند که خوانشگران خود را به چالش و اندیشه وامی‌دارد؛ طنز «سداریس»، شاید از سویی برای زندگی کردن ایشان بین ملت‌های گوناگون، و از سوی دیگر، برای پیشینه ی فرهنگی «یونانی‌» بودنش باشد، ایشان هرگزی در نوشتارهای خویش گم نمی‌شوند؛ و دیگر اینکه تفاوتی که طنز «سداریس» با «آلن»، دارد، رک‌گویی و جسارت «سداریس» است؛ «سداریس»، از خودش نیز فراتر می‌رود، و بدون رودربایستی، خانواده‌ اش را هم از دم تیغ بران طنزش می‌گذراند؛ همین رک‌ بودن است که داستان‌های «سداریس» را، در بین آثار دیگر طنزپردازان، برجسته کرده است؛

    داستانهای «وقتی شعله‌ها شما را در برمی‌گیرند»، «بخش سیگاری‌ها» است، که بیشترین بخش کتاب را اجاره کرده است – نزدیک به هشتاد صفحه - و داستانی است که «سداریس» درباره ی سفرش به «ژاپن»، برای ترک کردن سیگار می‌نویسند؛ ایشان در این داستان با نازک اندیشی درباره ی خودش می‌نویسد که از روزی دو پاکت سیگار کشیدن، رسید به جایی که دیگر نه‌ تنها سیگار نکشید، بلکه هر جا ته‌ سیگاری روی زمین می‌دید، آن را برمی‌داشت؛ ایشان در این داستان می‌نویسند «وقتی سیگار کشیدن در رستوران‌های نیویورک ممنوع شد، دیگر بیرون از خانه غذا نخوردم؛ وقتی آن را در محل کار ممنوع کردند، کارم را ترک کردم، و وقتی قیمت یک پاکت سیگار به هفت دلار افزایش یافت، اسباب و اثاثیه‌ ام را جمع کردم و به فرانسه رفتم، آنجا، پیدا کردن سیگار خودم سخت بود، ولی اهمیتی نداشت...»؛ و داستان ترک سیگارش را همچون سفری به دور دنیا، همراه دشواریهای فراوان و چالشهای فرهنگی را شرح و بازگشایی می‌کنند؛ نکته جالب‌ توجه داستان‌های «سداریس»، موقعیتی است که شخصیت اصلی آن، یعنی خود نویسنده، در آن قرار می‌گیرد، و طنز، فکاهی و شوخی، ناخواسته از همین موقعیت است که آفریده می‌شود؛ «سداریس» از سویی دست روی نقاط باریک فرهنگی مردمان کشورها می‌گذارند، و از سوی دیگر خوانشگر هیچگونه بی‌احترامی‌ در طنز او احساس نمی‌کند؛ او خود به‌ عنوان ناظری بیرون از گود می‌نشیند، و با چشم‌هایش، همانند دوربین، ماجرایی را که پیش‌تر برایش رخ داده، برای خوانشگر خویش می‌نویسد؛ ایشان این رویدادهای فرهنگی را استادانه در ذهنشان ثبت می‌کنند، و با اغراق‌ گوییهایی که یکی از مهم‌ترین ویژگی‌های طنز ایشان است، آن را روی کاغذ یا مانیتور می‌آورند؛ ویژگی مهمی که داستان‌های «سداریس» دارند، با وجود اینکه همانند نوشتارهای کوتاهی نگاشته می‌شوند، شخصیت‌های آفریده شده ی ایشان با مهارت ناباورانه ای پردازش و درخشش یافته‌ اند؛ ایشان، در داستان‌های خویش به رویدادهایی که در دوران جوانیش افتاده، یا در زندگی خانوادگی‌، تحصیلات، رودررویی با فرهنگ‌های دیگر کشورهای جهان، مشکلات داخلی آمریکا، روابط انسان‌ها، برخورد آنها با مرگ و ...، نیز می‌پردازند؛ «سداریس»، برای سفرهایش به کشورهای گوناگون جهان و گاهی با سال‌ها زندگی کردن در آن کشورها، مردمان آن کشورها را وارد داستانشان می‌کنند، و خوانشگران را وادار می‌کنند، بدون دانستن پیشینه‌ ای از آن مردمان، و یا پیشینه ی فرهنگیشان، به آنها بخندند

    نقل از متن: (وقتی سیگار کشیدن در رستوران های «نیویورک» ممنوع شد، دیگر بیرون از خانه غذا نخوردم؛ وقتی آن را در محل کار ممنوع کردند، کارم را ترک کردم و وقتی قیمت یک پاکت سیگار به هفت دلار افزایش یافت اسباب و اثاثیه ام را جمع کردم و به «فرانسه» رفتم؛ آنجا پیدا کردن سیگار خودم سخت بود ولی اهمیتی نداشت؛ دست کم دوبار در سال به «ایالات متحده» برمیگشتم؛ هر کارتن معاف از مالیات فقط بیست دلار بود، و من پیش از اینکه سوار هواپیما بشوم، پانزده کارتن میخریدم؛ سیگارهایی را هم که دوستانم برای کریسمس یا عید پاک برایم میآوردند به آن اضافه کنید؛ از آنجا که همیشه آمادگی امکان آتش سوزی یا دزدی را داشتم، در بهترین حالت سی و چهار کارتن داشتم، که در سه جای متفاوت تلنبار شده بودند؛ به آنها میگفتم «سیاهه موجودی» و میگفتم «تنها چیزی که بین من و فروپاشی کامل روانی وجود دارد همین سیاهه موجودی است.»)؛ پایان نقل

    تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی 9 “How different life looks when people behave themselves.”

    When You are Engulfed in Flames is a more mature and serious work from Mr. Sedaris. Just like the rest of us, he is growing up. Death, the comfort and security of old relationships, and the humility of age are all thematic elements in this text. However, that is not to say that Sedaris has lost his inimitable sense of style and humor. “Flames” is a seriously funny book, but it has more pages between the laugh out loud antics of some of Sedaris' earlier works.
    I am still amazed at how quickly Sedaris can change emotions so completely and perfectly in the same sentence. His essay in this collection Adult Figures Charging toward a Concrete Toadstool is an excellent example of this ability. It is a nice piece about art collecting, which ends as a touching tribute to his family.
    The essay “Of Mice and Men” seems to acknowledge that we all embellish facts with our own versions of the “truth”. Sedaris is quite good at turning that critical eye on himself, and the rest of us at the same time.
    Overall “When You are Engulfed in Flames” is a solid collection. Although the essays vary in quality, none are bad and there is not a miss in the bunch.
    Besides being entertaining, Sedaris is a seriously good writer who holds up to critical scrutiny. Enjoy. (You will) 9 3.5 or maybe 4 - rounding up because I was entertained. Not my favorite Sedaris. This one seemed to be darker and more serious than the others of his I have read (includes some artsy filler stories). There were some of the usual amusing tales - most of which in this book took place in France or on an airplane. The last 1/3 of the book (or so) was a cross between what it is like to live in Japan and being a smoker from start to finish.

    I don't think I would recommend that someone start here if they want to try Sedaris, but if you have read and enjoyed him before, this will be a good one to read. 9 Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

    The funniest collection by David Sedaris that I’ve read so far. There just aren’t words to express how happy these books make me. Sedaris is by far my favorite humorist/essayist/columnist/whatever-ist you want to call him. His writing can turn my frown upside down and always leaves me laughing like a lunatic.

    My infatuation actually began with another Sedaris – David’s sister Amy. Anyone who looks like this:

    But prefers to get paid for looking something like this:

    Is someone that I want to hang out with.

    When I discovered her brother, I found there was enough love in my heart for multiple Sedaris-es.

    Sadly, as much as I love dear David, it will most likely always be from afar. I have a huge phobia that if I meet a famous person I adore, they will end up being an asshat. I find myself each year sitting at the computer, hand hovering over the PayPal button, but always failing to purchase a ticket to one of his book readings/signings. Not only am I fearful David will be a jerk, but that he will also discover I’m a huge nutter. Ours would be quite the ill-fated meet/cute with me screaming things like why won't you love me???? while he runs away responding something along the lines of because I'm gay, you crazy bitch, which you should be well aware of since you've been my borderline stalker for years now! In addition, I would be forced to stand in line with a bunch of strangers mouthbreathing their germy breath on me – or even worse, having the gall to engage in small talk. Just UGH!

    My David and I may never meet, but I will continue to stalk love him and shout my praise of his hilarious books from the rooftops.

    Sidenote: This was my final selection for the Kansas City Public Library's Winter Reading Challenge. Stop Me If You've Read This One was the theme this year and encouraged patrons to read books that might make them laugh. By completing my 5 books, I got a lovely little coffee mug that Mitchell promptly declared as his.


    For those curious of my funny book choices for this challenge, they are as follows:

    Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen
    In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks by Adam Carolla
    Man Up by Ross Mathews
    When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris (duh)
    and
    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I figure I'm probably on some Federal watch list anyway, so why not mix it up a bit and let them think there might really be something to be scared of ; )
    9

    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 once more. He tests the limits of love when 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 the windows with LP covers to protect the 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. Culminating in a brilliantly funny (and never before published) account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection will be avidly anticipated. When You Are Engulfed In Flames

    Yep, pogo-stick time! Leave it to Sedaris to send me bouncing!

    Okay. Imagine this: You end up in a waiting room in France in just your underwear, all because you uttered “I agree” in French. Or, how about if you coughed so hard a lozenge flew from your mouth onto the lap of a nasty passenger sitting next to you on a plane? Seriously, these things happened to Sedaris, and man can he make every little detail hilarious. I’m grinning just thinking of the pickles he had to wriggle out of!

    Sedaris is my new hero. He’s hysterically funny, a player of words, full of dark humor, and sometimes gross. And he is tuned into the absurd in a big way. I’m not sure anyone else could have pulled me out of my pandemic funk and gotten me to laugh for a little while. My favorite kind of funny is when someone describes an absurd moment and runs with it. Sedaris gallops. He puts himself front and center and becomes all tangled up in the absurdity. Whether he witnesses something bizarre, has a strange conversation, or experiences some odd person or ailment, I’m all in. His stories remind me that truth is often stranger than fiction. It also stirs up memories of absurd things that happened to me, and I love going down memory lane. It’s a treat to clutch onto memories of funny right about now.

    I was late to the party. I tried reading a Sedaris book ages ago, and I couldn’t get into it. But I read Calypso when it came out a couple of years ago, and I was a goner. How did this happen that I went from bored to ecstatic? Anyway, this book is right up there with Calypso, and both live on my All-Time Favorites list.

    In most collections, there are some dud essays. Here, there are just two, and they’re short. The worst I can say is that they’re a little bit boring (one is about art pieces and it’s a snooze), but their presence didn’t make me knock my rating down even a fraction of a point. (When you’re in love, you push the bad aside.)

    The only flaw—and again, Sedaris can do no wrong, so this is a baby flaw—is that occasionally he wanders off the subject to tell another story. He always brings it back to the main story, but it sometimes feels like he’s a bit disorganized and that his editors should have used their eyeballs better.

    It’s all I can do not to describe more of his hilarious stories; they’re still spinning in my head. But better to let the master tell them himself because I’m sure I won’t do them justice. I want to say, “Look, just look at this!,” as I shove a page under your nose, demanding that you read this because I just know you’ll laugh. But then, who knows if you have the same funny bone as I do.

    As a tease, here is a taste of his funny:

    “I can’t make out the list of ingredients, but they taste vaguely like penis.”

    “The document was in Thai, a language that looks like cake decoration to me.”

    “I remember lying in bed and thinking with shame, My mom coughs like a man.”

    “I don’t think of myself as overly prissy, but it bothered me to find a finger on my bedroom floor.”

    “It is not unpleasant to hold someone else’s warm teeth in your hand, and before returning upstairs, I paused, studying the damp plastic horseshoe that served as Helen’s gum.”

    “She slid the dentures, unwashed, back into her mouth, and it was like popping the batteries into a particularly foul toy.”

    “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.”


    Check this book out (yes, I’m still pushing it under your nose!). It’s just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and thanks, Julie, for sending this title to me on a list of things to help out with the Pandemic Blues. 9 In our present culture, we sometimes write LOL meaning laugh out loud to recognize something is funny, but this is usually just a smile or an acknowledgment of a humorous situation.

    I can sincerely type LOL, or even ROFL, or LSHIS (laughed so hard I snorted).

    This is funny.

    Sedaris has a rare gift of relating a hilarious story or by simply telling a commonplace occurrence in a funny way.

    So why just three stars? In between the laughs is the not altogether likable persona of Sedaris. He may impart self deprecating humor, or maybe he is personifying a satire on our culture, or both, but many times in the narrative, organized into short essays or vignettes, I had to admit that I did not like my narrator.

    Other times, to be fair, he repented or showed a generous, open mindedness; but I could not shake the image of an unapologetically selfish person who, sadly, may reflect modern Western culture all too well. That said, really funny book.

    9 Here's my take on Sedaris, or maybe my take on Sedaris before I listened to this book: Naked is easily his best work because it's his most thorough, his most unencumbered by his own fame. If we were to compare his oeuvre to MTV's The Real World, Naked is the original New York season (despite not being Sedaris's first book). In New York, the cast members were people already living in the city (with the Alabama exception) and trying to make a living; the whole be on TV part of it was something they dealt with in the name of free housing. Now, of course, teens run at the chance to go live in some other city just to have their lives taped, just for the fame it might bring, and what they actually do on the show is dull as a result. Naked is the masterpiece because the essays therein are longer and more satisfying; the whole thing is memoir in its finest form of sifting through the past to let someone understand how life (or maybe just a life) gets lived.

    Then he got wildly famous and was able to publish any old essay in any old magazine. This, I recognize, is a factor of his talent both as a writer and a humorist, not a factor of his name. Still, even as far back as Me Talk Pretty One Day, I left much of the essays with a sense of incompletion. Picka Pocketoni? Why wasn't this narrator doing anything? It wasn't enough just to stand there and report, I felt.

    A lot of WYAEiF is about how wealthy and glamorous Sedaris's life is, and how wealthy he was growing up, which is something I'd never really sensed before. He talks about the cork-lined dining room at his parents' house with the (at the time) contemporary Danish modern furniture. He talks about the $20K he spent to quit smoking by moving to Tokyo for three months. He mentions an $8K first-class ticket he bought. He mentions a lot of airplane rides; I think at least three of the essays have their roots in something that happened to D.S. while flying across the Atlantic. This smacks to me of a writer who's run out of things to write about; and yet there are essays about old neighbors (That's Amore, one of the collection's best), so it seems Sedaris still has enough memories to last a few more books.

    I heard that in some interview somewhere, Sedaris confessed that he was getting to the point in his life where he'd act in a scene explicitly for the purposes of creating something to write about. Maybe Sedaris has a history of this (I can't imagine he just wanted to up and go to a nudist colony on his own; clearly, he saw great material in the exercise) but something about the heft of those earlier essays (Santaland Diaries, too) makes them seem more honest. In the interview, Sedaris was talking specifically about the decision to cough so hard on a plane that his throat lozenge would be expelled from his mouth. He thought, Let's see what happens, and coughed. This action begins one of the essays in this book, and it's never revealed as constructed.

    I'm not aligning myself with that camp of Memoir Exposers For The Truth. My complaint isn't that Sedaris makes things up. It's that at one time, behind the essays, was this guy David Sedaris, or as close to the guy as we could get, and now it seems that behind all these essays lies The Writer David Sedaris. I'm not making myself clear.

    (Which, incidentally, is one thing I can't fault Sedaris for. His timing in writing is impeccable and his descriptions apt and lovely in places. Oh and funny. The book in just incredibly, unendingly funny. In short: get the audiobook.) 9 4 1/2 stars.

    The houses looked like something a child might draw, a row of shaky squares with triangles on top. Add a door, add two windows. Think of putting a tree in the front yard, and then decide against it because branches aren't worth the trouble. (Page 27)

    ...I referred to him as Sir Lance-a-Lot. 'Once is not a lot,' he said. This was true, but Sir Lance Occasionally lacks a certain ring. (Page 238)

    Thanks for reading! 9 Oh, David Sedaris. I'll always love him for rescuing me from the bog-of-eternal-stench which is A Little Life. I survived my weeks-long recovery from that epic torture session by reading Sedaris' hilarious Me Talk Pretty One Day. He earned lifelong gratitude from me, reminding me books don't have to include dozens of sexual assaults, or a multitude of self harm shower scenes, in order to be great. They can actually make you LAUGH. OUT LOUD. IN PUBLIC. Or, in my car, in endless Montreal traffic, where God knows I desperately need something to chortle about. They can involve pedestrian things like, oh I dunno, poop, or furniture, or struggling through a language class.

    Anyway, if I had wondered that my admiration for David Sedaris was a result of his taming my PTSD from a god-awful book, now I know that isn't true. I mean, he DID tame my PTSD, but that was incidental. The guy is simply brilliant.

    He's like the Greek, gay, literary Seinfeld, with a womanly sounding voice. He takes incidents that many people would just move past, and manages to extract the humour and the pathos in a very self-depreciating, honest way. Much is about himself, but somehow it doesn't come across as self-absorbed, something that is very difficult to accomplish. Somehow I loved to hear how he, David, coughed a lozenge onto the crotch of the sleeping woman next to him on the airplane, who had earlier called him an asshole for not trading seats with her husband at the bulkhead. I loved hearing how he quit smoking, and how much of it had to do with his hotel snobbery rather than cancer risk. I loved the story of him sitting in his underwear in a French waiting room, a result of him saying d'accord when he didn't understand the nurse's instructions (to put on a robe, of course).

    Not all the essays in this collection are strong. But there were a few, at their conclusion, that made me think, that was just PERFECT. How beautiful that I can be touched, eyes pricked with threat of tears, about a story which at the onset seemed to be about furniture. Bravo, David Sedaris. Thank you again for the laughs. 9

    When

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