"When you are engulfed in flames"

I finally finished the newest David Sedaris book, When You are Engulfed in Flames. His twisted sense of humor and snarky asides are what originally got me hooked on his writing. But what makes it “kick ass” vs. “just funny” is his ability to meander while talking about a subject and ending with a single sentence that somehow ties every tangent into the main point in a natural way.

My single favorite sentence from the book will most likely stick out in this passage from his Japanese class while he and his bf were staying in Tokyo:

“In New York or Paris, these machines would be trashed,” I told him.
The Indonesian raised his eyebrows.
“He means destroyed,” Christophe said. “Persons would break the glass and cover
everything with graffiti.”
The Indonesian student asked why, and we were hard put to explain.
“It’s something to do?” I offered.
“But you can read a newspaper,” the Indonesian said.
“Yes,” I explained, “but that wouldn’t satisfy your basic need to tear something apart.”

(quote is on page 281 of the book)

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