Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Early Reactions (from the Critics): David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris's newest collection of essays, came out yesterday, and I have read several reviews from reputable (and not-so-reputable) sources. So far, it seems to have solid "good" to "great" ratings. Here are a few recaps of the reviews (click on the links to read the reviews in their entirety):
  • Entertainment Weekly gave the book a "B," noting that, while there is little never-before-published work in this collection (several of the essays come from The New Yorker and other publications), it makes a good intro to Sedaris's writing.
  • The critic from The New York Observer gave the book (and the author) high marks for humor and originality, even as she observes that "his most poignant material comes from the time before he was a writer."
  • The most recent issue of People magazine gave the WYAEIF a very positive review; unfortunately, it does not seem to be on
  • Sedaris himself appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night to promote the book; from the way he and Stewart discussed it, it sounded very funny.
In addition to Sedaris's experiences in Hiroshima, I have heard that the book also contains "Buddy Can You Spare a Tie," an essay about his experiences with fashion (and an external catheter). I've heard part of this essay from his Carnegie Hall performance, so I look forward to reading the entire thing. I am hoping to get my copy of the book in the next week or so (I have to wait until payday). I am also looking forward to getting the audio version (when it comes out). While reading a Sedaris book is always amusing, listening to him read his work is delightful (and very funny). Given his contributions to NPR, it is unsurprising that the essays make for great listening.