Calypso

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.

Author: David Sedaris

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4/5

“Increasingly at Southern airports, instead of a ‘good-bye’ or ‘thank-you,’ cashiers are apt to say, ‘Have a blessed day.’ This can make you feel like you’ve been sprayed against your will with God cologne. ‘Get it off me!’ I always want to scream. ‘Quick, before I start wearing ties with short-sleeved shirts!’”

Calypso was delightful. I listened to the audiobook, actually, which I love to do with nonfiction because the author usually reads it. Listening to Sedaris read his books is especially fantastic, and this one was no different. To parrot what literally the entire rest of the world says, he is hilarious and very real.

In Calypso, Sedaris focuses on the themes of getting older—what that does to both yourself and your family. The stories often come back to “The Sea Section,” a small beach house he and Hugh bought so that the family could vacation there. The book’s construction comes across cohesive and charming.

My favorite essay was the one where he talked about all the different ways people swear during their road rage across the world. It actually made me guffaw out loud while I was in the car with my husband, but my second-hand explanation of the joke fell flat. (Apparently I’m not David Sedaris, who knew?)

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