Friday, August 22, 2008

"When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris

This is my second book by the author, and yes, he's funny - at times. What I mean is that his writing is amusing and can, indeed, be humorous, but he's got a very dry wit, not a pratfall sort of thing going on here. So if you're looking for continuous, laugh-out-loud, "funny" writing, I would recommend you look elsewhere.

If, however, you also have a rather morbid, black sense of humor, Sedaris is your man. This book is told all in first-person; there are no satirical takes on anything (unless I missed it, that is). I enjoyed getting a glimpse of his life, both in France and out on the road. The best entry was the last one where he details his attempt to stop smoking; he and his partner head out to Japan for a month, where he hopes to completely kick his habit by the change of scenery. It's also where the title of the book comes from; seems things don't quite translate from Japanese to English very well. I think it was in one of their hotels that the sign was explaining what to do during a fire, and the phrase "when you are engulfed in flames" popped out at Sedaris as being just hysterical.

I'd have to agree.

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