Cover image for Calypso / David Sedaris.
Calypso / David Sedaris.

First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

Physical Description:
viii, 259 pages ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:


Library Branch
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
1 Bob Harkins Branch 814.54 SED Book Express Book Express
2 Bob Harkins Branch 814.54 SED Book Adult General Collection
1 Nechako Branch 814.54 SED Book Adult General Collection

On Order



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.

Author Notes

David Sedaris was born in Binghamton, New York on December 26, 1956, but he grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Much of Sedaris' humor is autobiographical and self-deprecating, and it often concerns his family life, his middle class upbringing in the suburbs of North Carolina. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. He is a popular radio commentator, essayist, and short story writer. He held many part-time and odd jobs before getting a job reading excerpts from his diaries on National Public Radio in 1992.

His first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, was published in 1994. His other works include Naked, Holidays on Ice, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), and Calypso. Me Talk Pretty One Day won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2001. He has also written several plays with his sister Amy Sedaris including Stump the Host, Stitches, and The Little Frieda Mysteries. In 2014 her title, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography) David Sedaris recently moved from New York to Paris. Raised in North Carolina, he has worked as a housecleaner &, most famously, as a part-time elf for Macy's. Several of his plays have been produced, & he is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's "This American Life." His essays have been featured in "The New Yorker", "Harper's", & "Esquire". He is the author of the books "Barrel Fever", "Naked", & "Holidays on Ice".

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Humorist Sedaris (Theft by Finding) collects 21 essays largely about family bonds and getting older in this hilarious yet tender volume. Facing middle age, the author purchased a beach house, which he named Sea Section, in his childhood state of North Carolina. The beach abode serves not only its intended purpose as a perfect location for family gatherings, but also ends up being a venue for arguments, jokes, and encountering local wildlife (in particular, a snapping turtle to whom Sedaris joked he'd feed a benign fatty tumor Sedaris had formed). Sedaris's mother died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 62, but his conservative, 92-year-old father (with whom he has a difficult relationship), three sisters (a fourth committed suicide), and younger brother are frequent visitors and fodder for Sedaris's perceptive and imaginative sense of humor; no subject seems too sacred for his wit, including his sister's suicide ("I've always liked to think that before killing myself I'd take the time to really mess with people") and the physical attractiveness of Jesus. He also riffs on topics ranging from the inane conversations people have at shops, airports, and hotels ("You're a long way from home, aren't you?" one bellman comments) to the nasty expletives drivers scream from cars. Throughout, Sedaris reveals a deep loyalty to family, with loving reminiscences of his mother, a palpable wish to be closer to his father, and a nostalgic devotion to his siblings and their shared memories. The author's fans and newcomers alike will be richly rewarded by this sidesplitting collection. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

CALYPSO, by David Sedaris. (Little, Brown, $28.) In his new collection of comic personal essays, Sedaris - who is now 61 - grapples seriously with themes of family, mortality and illness. As always, his very essence seeps through the pages like an intoxicating cloud. ALL FOR NOTHING, by Walter Kempowski. Translated by Anthea Bell. (New York Review Books, paper, $16.95.) Until recently, the plight of the nearly 750,000 Germans who fled East Prussia in the last days of World War II remained a taboo subject in fiction. Kempowski's novel, a work of lyrical melancholy originally published in German in 2006, conjures a privileged East Prussian family who must decide whether to join the exodus. INSANE: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, by Alissá Roth. (Basic Books, $28.) Roth offers a searing examination of how prisons have become the dumping ground for the mentally ill, where they are subjected to inhumane mistreatment. PROPERTY, by Lionel Shriver. (Harper/HarperCollins, $26.99.) A collection of short fiction that becomes a wry catalog of the many ways an acquisitive urge can go astray. Renters become unhappy owners; a wedding gift prompts a battle among friends; a man and his father feud over ?160 and the price of an airmail stamp. THE ELECTRIC WOMAN: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, by Tessa Fontaine. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) Fontaine's assured debut recounts her training as a carnival performer, eating fire and handling boa constrictors, even as it traces her difficult relationship with her mother - sometimes its own sideshow act. WAR ON PEACE: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, by Ronan Farrow. (Norton, $27.95.) At a time when the Trump administration is gutting the State Department and filling foreign policy jobs with military officers, Farrow offers a lament for the plight of America's diplomats, and explains why it matters. COUNTRY DARK, by Chris Offutt. (Grove, $24.) This family saga, featuring a Korean War veteran and his wife in the world of Kentucky moonshiners, is as dark as the title implies - violence and bad luck abound - but also so deeply humane that winsome twinkles shine through the blackness. YOU GO FIRST, by Erin Entrada Kelly. (Greenwillow, $16.99; ages 8 to 12.) A novel by the 2017 Newbery medalist follows two struggling kids who meet playing Scrabble online and convert their virtual bond into a real-life friendship. ENDLING THE LAST, by Katherine Applegate. (Harper, $17.99; ages 8 to 12.) Applegate starts a new series, about the last member of a dog-human hybrid species, mixing lovely prose and fast-paced fantasy to explore extinction and destructive human appetites. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

Library Journal Review

Humor is supposed to be the opposite of tragedy, but in the hands of gifted writer and humorist Sedaris, they work brilliantly together. This is a very funny book about death. In 2015, Sedaris is stunned when he learns that his youngest sister has committed suicide, just months before her 50th birthday. Naturally, the disturbing event launches him into a series of meditations on grief and loss. He reflects on the long-ago death of his mother, the declining health of his 90-year-old father, his aging siblings, his relationship with his longtime partner, Hugh, and his own mortality. But then serious contemplation gives way to odd digressions and witty observations. Whether writing about the litter on the street or his own malfunctioning fitbit, the selected details are strange, surprising, funny, and memorable. They are also haunting reminders of our mortality, and as a result, reveal how life is both beautiful and absurd and how, paradoxically, it takes a combination of both to make it worth living. VERDICT While essayist Sedaris has always been personal, this work shows him at his most vulnerable. His honesty is compelling, and his ability to create laughter in the darkness offers readers comfort and hope. [See Prepub Alert, 12/4/17.]-Meagan Lacy, Guttman Community Coll., CUNY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Company Manp. 3
Now We Are Fivep. 15
Little Guyp. 33
Stepping Outp. 41
A House Dividedp. 51
The Perfect Fitp. 67
Leviathanp. 79
Your English Is So Goodp. 95
Calypsop. 107
A Modest Proposalp. 119
The Silent Treatmentp. 129
Untamedp. 145
The One(s) Who Got Awayp. 157
Sorryp. 161
Boo-Hooeyp. 177
A Number of Reasons I've Been Depressed Latelyp. 185
Why Aren't You Laughing?p. 195
I'm Still Standingp. 211
The Spirit Worldp. 225
And While You're Up There, Check On My Prostatep. 239
The Comey Memop. 245

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