Book Diary: When You Are Engulfed in Flames (David Sedaris)

WHEN YOU ARE YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES, David Sedaris

(finished reading on 23/10/2011)

Yup, that’s right, another David Sedaris.  That’s three down, four to go and one collection of short stories he edited.  I take my obsessions seriously, kay?

Still very funny – of course, though I won’t try to tell you why in particular, that would just be to ruin it – but older and more concerned with age.  It was a strange coincidence that recently I’d been thinking about death and ageing quite a bit and it was interesting to have Sedaris’s narrative to accompany me in these inner musings.  I’ve been scared of dying since forever, actually since I heard about an old man who died in his sleep (a friend of my nan’s I think), when I was a little girl and I then subsequently became scared of sleeping too, which is a rubbish thing to be scared of because you can’t avoid it.  I used to try to stay awake until midnight so that at least when tiredness eventually overcame me it would be a new day and therefore more of a nap than a sleep.

Anyway, I digress.  All I really wanted to say – there’s no point me continuing my love letter to David – is that this book took me through considerations of pointlessness and despair to a different place and a kind of quiet joy – nothing evangelistic – just that life is so strange and sad that all you can do really is not to take it too seriously, ‘this too shall pass’ and also that the best line of defence is to keep an overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous.

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