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Cuba Circulating Library Association 1 LITERATURE & LANGUAGE 814.54 SED Adult NonFiction Book
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Summary

Summary

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

Booklist Review

Sedaris spends a good part of every year speaking all over the world; it's no wonder, then, that many of the personal essays in this new collection (his first since Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, 2013, though he released the first volume of his diaries last year) consider air travel and his fellow passengers. Such constant movement, on tour or between his cottage in West Sussex and his home on North Carolina's Emerald Isle, provides plenty of fodder for him to rage against small talk but not without suggestions for its improvement. Sedaris' family and upbringing have long been mainstays in his work, but this collection encompasses perhaps his most tender writing on the subjects yet. His sister Tiffany's recent suicide looms over family get-togethers, and his parents, his mother long passed and his father still hale in his nineties, receive ample page-time, too. For readers concerned that Sedaris has become too reverent, there's also an episode in which he seeks connection with a tortoise via hilariously head-scratching means. Readers may think they know what to expect from Sedaris; they'll be both surprised and delighted. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: There will be major fanfare, including a four-month tour, for Sedaris' first new collection in five years. Order up!--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2018 Booklist


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.


Library Journal Review

Sedaris's narration certainly brings his true flavor and personality to these pages. This latest work is full of the author's usual dark humor combined with a deep sense of the changes in his family; it may be his most intimate book. His observations and insights come from viewing aging, loss, and mortality as he often crosses the lines of "acceptable" behavior. A live recording of "While You're up There, Check on My Prostate" includes audiences roaring at the crudest insults about bad drivers they may never forget and his own tumor's memorable journey. The essays about a Carolina coastal beach house can resonate with summer cottage renters and are tinged with the smells of sand and suntan oil; the revelations about his late sister Tiffany and his parents are bitter-sweetly relatable; and listeners will enjoy accompanying the author on his Fitbit walks in airports and in Europe. VERDICT Sedaris isn't to everyone's tastes, but fans are in for plenty of laughs and some more poignant moments. Original musical interludes composed and performed by Daniel Hart are a bonus. ["[Sedaris's] honesty is compelling, and his ability to create laughter in the darkness offers readers comfort and hope": LJ 5/1/18 starred review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo © 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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