by David Sedaris


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316392426
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 6,398
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Sedaris is the author of the books Theft by Finding, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4. He lives in England.


London, England

Date of Birth:

December 26, 1956

Place of Birth:

Johnson City, New York


B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Table of Contents

Company Man 3

Now We Are Five 15

Little Guy 33

Stepping Out 41

A House Divided 51

The Perfect Fit 67

Leviathan 79

Your English Is So Good 95

Calypso 107

A Modest Proposal 119

The Silent Treatment 129

Untamed 145

The One(s) Who Got Away 157

Sorry 161

Boo-Hooey 177

A Number of Reasons I've Been Depressed Lately 185

Why Aren't You Laughing? 195

I'm Still Standing 211

The Spirit World 225

And While You're Up There, Check On My Prostate 239

The Comey Memo 245

Customer Reviews

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Calypso 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and engaging. Not the most through or in depth but worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Caught myself laughing out loud! I would definitely recommend it to anyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading a whole book of David Sedaris, instead of just am article in THE NEW YORKER, is a true treat. I might qualify much of his humor as "wry." But why am I laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Sedaris’ keen observations of his own family dynamics are wonderfully witty and enjoyable to read whether one’s toes are in sand, or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You did it again, sir!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its awesome book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG, I love the story! (Not giving spoilers....)
gaele More than 1 year ago
A Favorite - It’s a collection that gradually tightens its hold on your attention and heart: like a boa, it starts with the joys of the ‘spare room’, dedicated and used ONLY for guests with a luggage rack, real bed and en suite. Or, the ‘second’ guest room, upstairs, with a bathtub rather than a shower. A sign of being a ‘real grownup’ and with that frisson of “middle-aged satisfaction’, it is instantly clear that this series of stories is of the now – the changes as age creeps up, attitudes change and a dedicated guest room becomes a symbol that epitomizes arrival at that nebulous point of “success’. Of course, this leads to ‘proper behavior’ for the hosting couple: from choreographed displays of support and affection through reaction to oft-told stories, ‘who’ is responsible for and to the quests (His, Yours or Ours), the quirks of family and behavior (just walking out when the conversation / story isn’’t engaging, not saying goodnight, entering in the middle of a story), and every moment is eay to visualize, imagine and wonder about. From here – the stories range from questions you WANT to ask a stranger – mostly to get a reaction, but perhaps because you are a bit curious, to the words that should be banned evermore and never pass your lips, their banality and overuse make them nonsense platitudes, especially in the service industry. That’s where the beauty and joy of the observations and these stories reveal themselves. It’s a conversation, admittedly with one person monopolizing all the speaking time, but a conversation that has you comparing your thoughts, experiences and outlook to another person –and finding some common points in the humanity, the desire to connect and the equally strong desire to remain aloof and outside the drama, even as you are framing it within your own views of the world as it exists now, and how different that is from what you did, or could imagine. Sedaris has a knack of making you care about those moments that have become automatic, reacted to rather than planned for, the orchestrated interactions that never quite follow the sheet music as something or someone is consistently out of tune, and the need to move forward: being aware and adjusting as things come up, never forgetting to ask the unexpected question. I loved this (and other) books by Sedaris – the humanity that never quite loses that snarky, sarcastic and often spot-on observations make him a storyteller for these ages – I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Calypso by David Sedaris is a very highly recommended collection of 21 darkly humorous, yet touching, essays. This may be the best book by Sedaris yet. David Sedaris has always had a keen eye for details and the absurd while observing the world with a cynical, but honest, eye. In these stories he focuses more on mortality and death, while simultaneously showing the love and devotion he has for Hugh and his family. The discussions between David and his sisters are both hilarious and insightful. While I can generally mention some topics covered in the essays, Sedaris smoothly segues from one topic to another. This is a memorable collection Contents: Company Man: One of perks to middle age is that, "with luck, you'll acquire a guest room." Now We Are Five: How David and his siblings are handling the suicide of their youngest sister, Tiffany. Also buying a beach house he and Hugh named the Sea Section. Little Guy: Reflections on being a short man. "I’m not one of those short men who feels he got shafted." Stepping Out: David discusses his Fitbit obsession. A House Divided: Reflections on class, and Tiffany embracing poverty as an accomplishment. The Perfect Fit: "I’m not sure how it is in small families, but in large ones relationships tend to shift over time." And shopping with his sisters. Leviathan: Sedaris contemplates how people become crazy in two ways: animals and diet, and he discusses feeding the wild turtles near their beach house. Your English Is So Good: Using a language instruction course doesn't necessarily help you with context or commonly used phrases. Calypso: America and the spread of information through TV news, along with pictures in wood grain and health concerns, including his desire to feed his tumor to a turtle. A Modest Proposal: Gay marriage and proposing to Hugh. The Silent Treatment: His father's inability to have meaningful discussions and growing up with him. Untamed: A wild fox they named Carol. The One(s) Who Got Away: David asks Hugh about previous partners. Sorry: "Whenever I doubt the wisdom of buying a beach house, all I have to do is play a round of Sorry! and it all seems worth it." Boo-Hooey: Sedaris can’t stand people talking about ghosts, but he does believe they can visit you in your dreams. A Number of Reasons I’ve Been Depressed Lately: A self-explanatory list. Why Aren’t You Laughing?: Sedaris discusses his mother's alcoholism. I’m Still Standing: Having embarrassing accidents in public on airplanes. The Spirit World: Amy and a psychic And While You’re Up There, Check on My Prostate: A discussion of what angry drivers yell at other drivers. The Comey Memo: Jim Comey was staying at an area beach house and their father's declining abilities. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Little, Brown and Company
bookaholique More than 1 year ago
Ok - so what took me so long to read a David Sedaris book? This was hysterical! What a welcomed break from murder mysteries and dramas that I tend to read. Quite often I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my cheeks. My intention when I got this book was to only read a few chapters at a time. But once I started I just could not put it down. There is a saying that laughter is the best medicine. If you're looking for a good belly laugh to make you feel better, don't look any further. I received this from Little Brown and Company via Netgalley.
Anonymous 7 months ago
LOL funny, moving, and full of the wonders of life and family. I spent my summers growing up at Topsail, and Emerald Ilse in NC so the beach setting was extra special for me. This is one book you don't want to miss.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Each chapter better than the other. Great summer reading.
CarolinaScotty 9 months ago
5 stars for writing but just one star for attitude This is my first Sedaris book in many years. Is he always so petty and critical when writing about his partner, Hugh? Damn. The book I'd want to read now is Hugh's!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am extremely disappointed in this book. I’d been hearing such great things about it. Even though it was a relatively short book, it seemed to take forever to get through. While I (in my opinion) have a good sense of humor, I didn’t find this book very funny. There were certain parts that were humorous, but on the whole, not so much. Instead, I found the author to be pretentious, self-absorbed, pessimistic, and unrelatable. If anything, I preferred stories of the author’s husband instead. The stories the author was telling were rather dark at times, and maybe it’s that I simply can’t relate to someone having a mid-life crisis, but everything seemed to be so cruel and negative. I didn’t agree with hardly anything he was talking about and I have no experiences in common with him either. In my opinion, this book is highly overrated and I simply don’t understand the praises and accolades. I will not be reading this book again in the future, and I am hesitant to try anything else by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read. Great mind and writing style. Didn't want it to end.
Cambo More than 1 year ago
Too funny! Sometimes one just has to change it up a little so one does not slip into a rut. Fearing such rut, I had picked up David Sedaris’ Calypso to sort of read on the side. Man, is this guy something else. Sedaris writes essays, mainly of true family experience. Talk about a change of pace, this guy is so far away from the epicenter of my reading core. David Sedaris is a very humorous writer. Some of the material covered in his essays leads to some very interesting background material and coversation. And what makes this guy tick? This is a very good book that is a delight to read and one hates to give too much of it up as the reader should experience these tasty tidbits of humor completely unaware. However, some information does need to be leaked to set the tone for the perspective reader and show just where all Sedaris’ mind is willing to take his readers. The scene will not be exposed in its entireity, only what is absolutely required. Here we go: He and a friend are keeping a list of words and phrases that have been used so much in language that they have lost their true meaning? Topping the list would be “awsome,” (what all does this mean now?), with other banned words being outlawed being “meds,” “bestie,” “bucket list,” “dysfunctional,” “expat,” “cab-sav,” and the verb “do” when used in ordering food. I’ll do the anchoive, artichoke and Andoulie sausage gumbo. As far as phrases go, included at the very top is my all time favorite, or is that all-time least favorite? “It is what is.” Argh. Sedaris adds, “Isn’t that the state motto of South Dakota?” Loved that one. The Fitbit is a timely time piece of humor throughout the book … There is an essay on going to the Psychic … What curses do people in foreign countries yell at bad drivers? The year is 2015, and the obnoxious, rich reality star has thrown his hat in the ring for the Presidential bid … Surely this rediculous blowhard will not be our next President? Who will run with him, the Hamburlglar? And other reasons he is depressed. Calypso is a very enjoyable book that tha lets the mind run free. It is the first book that I have read in quite some time that I have foumd myself laughing outloud. David Sedaris enjoys a very loyal following. I noticed this rather quickly, and, in fact, have two more of his books that I picked up in a used book store. You owe it to yourself to take a break and laugh heartily at book that you are reading. Shall we say 4.2 out of 5?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe the author and I are the same age and see things differently. First off possums are not agressive and second how did he not include "no problem" in the Your English is so Good chapter? Just so so. Sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Sedaris is not a gifted or interesting author. Leave this one for the paper recyclers. Not well written nor engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny and light
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It felt like I'd heard the stories before...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disjointed and not entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always.