Calypso
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Calypso

David Sedaris

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 writing has 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 tumour joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet - and it just might be his very best.

Review

‘LOL’ is an acronym I usually avoid, however, when reading David Sedaris it is apt. Calypso, the long-awaited new collection of twenty-one stories from one of the world’s most-loved humorists is an absolute cracker!

Focusing on middle age, mortality and, as always, family, Sedaris has once again deftly woven seemingly meaningless everyday observations with deeply personal and often moving anecdotes. A nostalgic devotion to family and stories of their time together at the beach house he purchases, naming it ‘Sea Section’ no less, are particularly hilarious. His genius lies in recounting conversations with strangers and slaying them with the sharpest of one-liners, making you wish you could have had similar wit and foresight in such moments. However, Sedaris does not spare himself, either. His self-deprecating admission of the consequences of an unhealthy attachment to his much-loved Fitbit had me literally suppressing snorts of laughter.

Calypso is Sedaris’s darkest yet warmest collection to date, and it’s definitely his funniest. It will delight fans and first-time readers alike.


Danielle Mirabella is a book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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