- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 29 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316392383
- ISBN-13: 978-0316392389
- Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Calypso Hardcover – May 29 2018
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"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
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.
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I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who DIDN’T like his writing (although feel free to tell me otherwise in the comments!), but I have come across plenty of people who have never heard of him, which shocks and disappoints me all at once. He’s a regular contributor to numerous publications, and he does an enormous amount of touring, but apparently that’s not enough! No matter, I’m such a big fan that I’ll make sure every reader I talk to knows how important it is that they go out and buy one of his books immediately.
A good friend of mine was his publicist for awhile, and she confirmed that he is as wonderful in person as he is on paper, citing the fact that he’ll sign books for hours and talk to every single person in line who sees his shows. Unfortunately, many writers give this up once they hit ‘the big time’, but not him! That alone is a good reason to see him live (I never have, but it’s on my bucket list, you can be sure of that).
So what are the stories in Calypso about? They are surprisingly personal, touching upon subjects such as: his sister’s suicide, his mother’s death, his troubled relationship with his father, and a tumor he had cut out of himself so he could feed it to a special turtle who lived around a vacation home of his. It’s hard to say whether these tales are not embellished, I would guess they’re exaggerated a tiny bit, but who the hell cares when they’re hilarious?
Have I given you enough reasons to seek out everything he’s ever written yet? I’ll leave you with a quote from Calypso to seal the deal. This quote is referring to how confused he is when listening to people under 40 talk about their work:
Theirs are the offices, I imagine, where Kayson rides his scooter down the concrete hallway, passing a warren of workspaces that resembles cages. And no one’s shirt is tucked in. That’s one phrase that won’t be in my English book: “Nice suit.” Twenty years from now they probably won’t be making them anymore. Dressing up will mean wearing the sweatpants without paint on them to your father’s funeral (p. 105).
Some of the issues he confronts in Calypso include his perceived physical shortcomings, his three-decade relationship with his partner, Hugh, the tragic suicide of one of his sisters, Tiffany, the interesting people he meets while touring to promote his books, and minutae of his daily life with Hugh. Thirty years after the death of his alcoholic mother at the age of 62 from cancer, he’s still strongly affected by the loss.
I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of shopping for eccentric clothing, like a hat shaped like a toilet brush, that he and his sister Gretchen like to buy at a store called Kapital when they’re in Japan. He describes shopping expeditions with his sisters as like being ‘in a pie-eating contest, only with stuff. We often felt sick. Dazed. Bloated. Vulgar. Yet never quite ashamed.’. I know the feeling.
Sedaris has a respectful and sometimes fraught relationship with his 92-year-old Trump-loving father. The senior Sedaris refuses to leave the five-bedroom family home despite being unable to maintain it or properly cook for himself. He has a propensity for hoarding and uses a flashlight to find his way around the house at night, thereby saving on electricity. Sound familiar? The challenges faced by the family dealing with a stubborn, aging parent are something most boomers can relate to and Sedaris delivers a humorous perspective on the issue.
Calypso is a joy to read from start to finish. It’s a wonderful escape on a warm summer day or a pick-me-up if you’re feeling down. I’d rate it 9 out of 10.
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