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Calypso by David Sedaris


by David Sedaris

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1,1755811,437 (4.07)53
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.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Definitely both hilarious and moving by turns; Sedaris's focus on aging, loss, and death is maybe more palpable as a serious undercurrent than you might find in some of his other work, but there are also definitely moments that made me laugh out loud while listening at work. I definitely recommend the audiobook--it's not long (only something like 6 hours,) and his voice is so important in parts, especially when he's doing voices for his siblings or other people that he meets. There are things that make me cringe--a joke about how he's transitioning because he buys and wears culottes, and a bit from a pre-pandemic moment where he talks about how much he hates people wearing masks in public (oops!) but you can't blame him for not seeing that one coming. I don't know that I needed his perspective on the 2016 election, but I kind of feel that way about all white people reacting to the 2016 election (and strongly recommend Tessie McMillan Cottom's essay about that election in Thick, among other essays in it.)

Nonetheless, I think this was a really good read, and if you like Sedaris's other work you will probably like this--and you will enjoy how he has grown and evolved over time! ( )
  aijmiller | May 25, 2020 |
I had never read anything by David Sedaris before, but I had heard him on This American Life several times. He has a distinct monotone that makes him a character just through his voice. And his stories always seemed interesting and funny. So before the apocalypse closed all the libraries, I grabbed this.

Like John Hodgman, he’s a celebrity, but no one knows what he’s a celebrity for. Being a writer, I guess? Like Dave Barry or Lewis Grizzard? But when the essays you produce are mostly about yourself, can you really call that fameworthy? Seems a little narcissistic to me. But I digress.

My biggest beef is that the essays sound super judgemental. Hypocritical of me to complain about someone else being judgy, I know. I like judging. But judgement should be rendered with the right criteria, and for the right reasons. Not petty superficial ones that damn a region or race instead of individual behavior.

His writings have a background of disdain for America. He’s very into criticizing anything that’s not European or his beach house in North Carolina. Except for when those towns and states fund his lecture tour.

He has a dark streak that’s hard to describe. He’s like a George Carlin that’s too lazy to get off the couch. There’s no vitriol or irony, but the same disdain for poor language, travel, and stupid people. In one chapter, he gives an iPad to a sick kid in the hospital. But in another, he makes it his mission to feed his exsected tumor to a wild turtle for… reasons? He even went to extra effort to have a black market medical procedure done for this purpose. There’s something about a character who would take the trouble to do that that makes me ill.

I wish one of his other collections has been at the library that day, like Me Talk Pretty One Day. This book, his latest, sounds he’s taken the turn of old age, losing hope and gaining cynicism. ( )
  theWallflower | May 18, 2020 |
just another entertaining book from david.
  Andrewfm | Apr 17, 2020 |
I enjoyed the bits and pieces of the humor throughout the book. The author sort of give us a glimpse here and there into his life. It is funny but sometime sad at the same time. ( )
  Baochuan | Apr 16, 2020 |
Funny, went to hear him speak, but still not a huge fan. I feel that his ego shows through. ( )
  Jeanene_KP | Apr 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
The author’s fans and newcomers alike will be richly rewarded by this sidesplitting collection.
added by rretzler | editPublishers Weekly (starred review) (pay site) (Mar 19, 2018)
In which the veteran humorist enters middle age with fine snark but some trepidation as well.
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For Joan Lacey
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Though there's an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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