David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.
If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong.
When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.
With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.
This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet–and it just might be his very best.
An Amazon Best Book of June 2018: Reading ruminations on middle age and mortality is not typically a cheery exercise, unless David Sedaris is doing the writing. Many of the essays in Calypso are set at the “Sea Section”—Sedaris’s retreat on the Carolina coast. There, his family whiles away the holidays playing cutthroat board games, baking in the sun, and feeding tumors to snapping turtles (yes, you read that right). In others, he describes shopping shenanigans in Japan (you can thank him for the resurgence of the culotte, or not), his unhealthy Fitbit obsession, and a side vocation picking up trash near his Sussex home. All provide the sort of everyday fodder that is ripe for his beloved brand of witty repartee. But Calypso is as dark as it is droll; it also touches on his late mother’s alcoholism, his sister’s suicide, and a sometimes strained relationship with an irascible father. Any one of these things could fracture a family but it’s clear from these pages that their bond is strong. Calypsois David Sedaris’s funniest, most outrageous, most moving offering yet. —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
“This book allows us to observe not just the nimble-mouthed elf of Sedaris’s previous work, but a man in his seventh decade expunging his darker secrets and contemplating mortality…The brilliance of David Sedaris’s writing is that his very essence, his aura, seeps through the pages of his books like an intoxicating cloud, mesmerizing us so that his logic becomes ours…The geeks really do inherit the earth.”―Alan Cumming, New York Times Book Review
“The king of the humorous essay returns with a brand-new collection — his first in five years. Sedaris fans will find plenty of familiar delights: His misanthropic charms and wry wit are as delightful as ever, even if some of the subject matter has changed. From his new vacation home on the coast of North Carolina, he writes about the concerns of health and aging, treating us to a story about the persnickety doctor who refused to let him keep a noncancerous tumor that he’d planned to feed to a snapping turtle once removed. We can only assume that the audiobook version of Calypso will be the perfect travel companion during road trips and getaways this spring and beyond.”―Maris Kreizman, New York Magazine
“Age and family occupy beloved humorist Sedaris’s latest collection of essays. His observations feel sharper and often darker than in previous collections, as he ponders the inevitable breakdown of the human body, the shame attendant with illness and age, the nature of addiction, and the eccentricities of his family. Though middle age may have made his shades of gray blacker, the wit and incisiveness that make Sedaris much-adored remain.”―Lauren Hubbard, Harper’s Bazaar
“Killer…Sedaris is practically his own genre now…Whether it’s a compulsion or a decision, Sedaris isn’t holding back anymore.”―Rachel Manteuffel, The Washington Post
“Honest, reflective, and even tender…Eloquent and silly, Sedaris’ collection could probably find unshakable life even in the dust kitties under the bed…He gets you laughing even as he gently turns you toward the darkness we all must face.”―Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco Chronicle
“David Sedaris’s new essay collection is the sharpest retort to anyone who thinks they know what our favorite curmudgeonly humorist will be up to next. His charming observational humor is still the engine, but there’s nothing frivolous about it. In the wake of his sister’s suicide, Sedaris grapples poignantly and satisfyingly (and yes, often hilariously) with death, the aging body, and just how far the bonds of family can stretch.”―Alex Postman, Conde Nast Traveler