When I read David Sedaris' Barrel Fever in the late nineties, I had little idea that it was possible to read a book and actually double over in laughter. Given that I had been a sucker for crappy hopeless romances up to this point, I was hooked. I also make no bones about my self diagnosed attention deficit disorder, and the idea of reading fast, funny stories that were over in a matter of pages were not only a relatively new thing to me, they were pretty darned novel and suited to my personality. I subsequently ran out and tried to get my hands on everything else the guy had ever written in his life, which at that point was very little.
And then there was the lull. I have written in the past about paltry sophomore works from both writers and musicians; I frequently have little taste for the churn and burn work that seems in my expert opinion largely reguritated from freshman efforts--stuff that is meant to pacify the desires of money hungry publishers and labels. Such was the case here, until Me Talk Pretty One Day hit the shelves and I was once again, doubled over.
And now again, we have When You are Engulfed In Flames. How seamlessly an author can jump from the tragedy of living next door to man shunned from society because of his love of sex with little kids, to a house burning down at the hands of a mouse and make it simultaneously side splittingly funny, is well beyond me, but somehow Sedaris does it. I read the entire book in one sitting.
I really needed a laugh that night. And I recieved many, many of them, all for the hard copied price of $29.95. Not bad, if you don't count the wine.