August 18, 2010

REVIEW: Sedaris's Flames shine bright

David Sedaris has to be one of the greatest writers who ever lived. I say this because while other best-selling writers teach you compelling lessons (David McCullough), encourage your inner conspirator (Dan Brown), show you new and scary worlds (Michael Crichton), or take you off into fantasy (J.K. Rowling), Sedaris writes about the mundane and somehow makes it fascinating. Each of the many stories in his books are like literary candy: short, sweet, and easily digestible. That is not to say that he is entirely frivolous, though the books are far from serious, as at each turn Sedaris is able to make quick incisive quips about the absurd and awkward world he tries in vain to live in.

For those unfamiliar with Sedaris's work, he sort of writes about the way life happens to him. The man on the plane who can't stop crying to the point of it being annoying. Being invited on vacation with the town's child molester. Chronicling his life in time spent not smoking. I started following Dave with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, back in high school and with the exception of Naked have been impressed by what I read. My inner high school self wants to say that Corduroy is still my favourite, but my 20-something self believes When You Are Engulfed in Flames, is his masterpiece.

Read it
Skim it
Toss it

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