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When You Are Engulfed in Flames Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Sedaris's sparkling essays always shimmer more brightly when read aloud by the author. And his expert timing, mimicry and droll asides are never more polished than during live performances in front of an audience. Happily, four of the 22 pieces are live recordings, and listeners can hear Sedaris's energy increase from the roaring, rolling laughter of the appreciative audience. Sedaris's studio recording of his 10-page Of Mice and Men runs 16 minutes, while the live recording of Town and Country, which runs the same length in print, expands to 22 minutes thanks to an audience that often doesn't let him finish a sentence without making him pause for laughter to subside. The studio recordings usually begin with an acoustic bass and brief sound effect (a buzzing fly, the lighting of a cigarette, the clinking of ice in a drink, etc.). Sedaris's brilliant magnum opus, The Smoking Section (about his successful trip to Tokyo is quit smoking) stretches across the final two CDs. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28). (June)
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"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
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The opening story "SantaLand Diaries" is the story that put this author on the map when it was read on NPR. It's the sort of "autobiographical fiction" (i.e. based on his life, but exaggerated for comic effect) that Sedaris does so beautifully. It's a classic.
Sedaris admits to some exaggeration, so maybe writing stories about holidays is a natural fit for his talents. Americans take their celebrations very seriously indeed, with the result that observing behavior during holidays is even more entertaining than observing behavior the rest of the time. Holidays bring out the crazy in all of us. Ask any cop or ER nurse or Mall Santa. Even normal people go whack-o.
I loved the Christmas letters that spiral out of control. I howled at the critiques of children's holiday productions. Naturally, your own offspring (or grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc) are charming, talented, and delightful, but who the hell thought we'd want to watch those other boring brats?
But my favorites were "Dinah the Christmas Whore" and "Let It Snow" because of the glimpses into the strange family that shaped this author's twisted outlook on life. His family may have been "Southern by the Grace of Greyhound" but they fit right in. Anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family will recognize the characters and situations. Those of you who grew up in a normal family don't know what you missed.
I think most of these stories are ones I would enjoy re-reading and the collection is a great introduction to this author's writing. After all, this is a man who's been called "one of the funniest writers alive." By The Economist. And if people who write about the economy don't know great humor when they see, I can't imagine who does.
Sedaris is meant to be heard, and I can hear his voice reading these short stories as I read them. His unique speaking voice and writing voice are unmistakable. Nobody sound just like David Sedaris. Funny and poignant, both voices combine into a reading experience like none other.
The great thing about Holidays on Ice is FIRST listening to him read it. THEN read it yourself. ANd you can hear his voice in your head reading it. That's what I do. I imagine his voice reading it and it makes it that much more funny. Funnier ?
I took it to the reading, and he re-signed it. I love him. He's so wee. You just want to wrap him up and take him home and make him tell you funny things.