Calypso (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


After a detour into Sedaris’s old diary entries in Theft by Finding, this follow up to Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls finds the author contemplating middle-aged life as a part-time lecture tour headliner with a side-gig picking up trash in the English countryside. Ghosts haunt this collection – not just his sister Tiffany, who committed suicide in 2013, but his mother, who passed back in 1991. Several of the pieces take place at the Sea Section, a vacation home Sedaris bought for his extended family, but he’s also not afraid to tackle clothes shopping in Japan or ways to curse people who cut you off in other languages. Some of the essays drag, but the best demand loud guffaws. And how can you not fall in love with Carol the Fox, likely the hero of a future picture book?

— Daniel Goldin

Sedaris has a unique style, very bold and still unassuming and natural. He plainly talks about the most harrowing and awkward aspects of life as if they were absurd curiosities. He can write about the endless contradictions in his family and give me a group hug feeling - thank you for being at least as weird as us! He writes about insults from a judgmental world with a sly but biting sense of humor that often brings a growing smile rather than a lol guffaw. And his odd but beautiful attempts at relationships with wild animals are fascinating. A fox named Carol befriends him, and he fed WHAT to a snapping turtle with a giant tumor on its head!? Last year he was at Boswell for a 7:00 event and showed up by 4:30 to start signing books and having long conversations with the very first fans who arrived.  How can you not love this guy?

— Tim McCarthy

Description


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.

About the Author


David Sedaris is the author of the books Theft by Finding, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4. He lives in England.

Praise For…


"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

"David Sedaris's biggest strength as an essayist and a humorist lies in his remarkable power of observation, of detecting the humor and pathos is the everyday conversations most of us don't register. His attention and wit are as incisive as ever, but Sedaris brings a stronger sense of self to the pages of Calypso...It's both warmer and bleaker than any Sedaris that's come before."—Laura Adamczyk and Caitlin Penzeymoog, AV Club

"If there's one thing you can count on in life,
it's Sedaris to leave you giggling on the beach in both humor and horror. His
latest collection of stories is a bit more serious than his previous, but even
when the Sedaris clan is at its worst, the humorist reveals their antics with
his characteristic wit in a way that manages to both soften and sharpen the
dark truths behind the stories he tells."—Allison McNearney, The Daily Beast

"Sedaris is widely considered is widely considered America's leading humorist, and his new book Calypso does nothing but burnish that reputation."—Nic Brown, Garden & Gun

"Laugh-out-loud funny, true and introspective."—Holly Silva, St Louis Post-Dispatch

"With this tenth
book, Sedaris demonstrates yet again what makes him the best American humorist
writing today: a remarkable ability to combine the personal with the political,
the mundane with the profane, slime with sublime, and hilarity with heart."—Heller McAlpin, NPR

"The beauty of David Sedaris's personality-and what
keeps his readers coming back for best-selling book after best-selling book-is his
unwavering dedication to a helter-skelter train of thought...Calypso is his most personal and open book yet, shedding light on
his late sister's struggle with mental health, his mother's addiction, and his
own experiences with the legalization of gay marriage, but it still finds
plenty of room for laughs."—Seija Rankin, Entertainment Weekly

"Calypso is the most family-centered of his books yet and, although much of it is very funny, it's also his most melancholy as it addresses aging and loss...it ranges across a number of other subjects as well, often with Sedaris's trademark off-center, self-deprecating humor."—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

"It's David Sedaris. You know you want to read
it. Calypso is packed with plenty of
the painfully funny laugh-out-loud moments you've come to expect from Sedaris.
But it's also his most deeply moving work yet."—Elizabeth Entenman, HelloGiggles

"Sedaris hasn't lost his capacity for bemused
observations of the people he encounters...But bad news has sharpened the
author's humor, and this book is defined by a persistent, engaging bafflement
over how seriously or unseriously to take life when it's increasingly filled
with Trump and funerals. Sedaris at his darkest--and his best."—Kirkus (starred review)

"If you're ever stuck in an elevator or airport,
just pray for David Sedaris to appear. Time passes quickly with this national
treasure of a storyteller. Reading Calypso
is like settling into a glorious beach vacation with the author, whose
parents, siblings and longtime boyfriend, Hugh, feel like old friends to
faithful readers...While Sedaris is laugh-out-loud funny in his brilliant,
meandering way, it's his personal reflections that will stay with you."—Alice Cary, Bookpage

"Sedaris collects 21 essays largely about family bonds and getting older in this hilarious yet tender volume...The author's fans and newcomers alike will be richly rewarded by this sidesplitting collection."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316392389
ISBN-10: 0316392383
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: May 29th, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English