It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by David Sedaris, but when I saw Calypso (2018) available at the library on Audiobook, I decided it would be the perfect thing to listen to on my commute. I vaguely remember enjoying Sedaris’s other books, but this one might just be my favorite. With stories about his family, his partner, his vacation house, and his eccentricities, I was thoroughly entertained.
I especially enjoyed listening to Sedaris read his book. It’s his life, after all, and his timing is perfect. A few of the chapters are recordings from live readings, and it’s fun to hear the audience’s reaction to the material. When Sedaris discussed his Fitbit obsession, which he manages to tie in throughout the book, or his attempts to feed a local snapping turtle his recently removed tumor, it is almost too crazy to be believable. I couldn’t imagine where he would go next. I now wish that I’d listened to Sedaris’s other books instead of reading them.
I really appreciated how Sedaris was able to weave everything together. There are through-lines throughout the different stories, and just when you think you’re done with a topic, he brings it back around to something he’s mentioned before.
But if Sedaris is unflinchingly honest about his crazy, he is also unflinchingly honest about more difficult aspects of his life. In more serious sections, Sedaris discusses his mother’s fall into alcoholism, how everyone knew what was going on, but no one knew how to address it. In addition, Sedaris returns often to the death of his sister. Apparently she was difficult and dramatic, but he didn’t really understand until after her death that she was probably suffering from mental illness. His last moments with her before her death are haunting. I probably would have reread that section if I’d been reading the book. Instead, the moment passed by quickly as Sedaris read his text, and I was left wondering if I’d heard correctly.
There’s not too much else for me to say here. If you are a fan of Sedaris, you will definitely enjoy this book. Recommended.
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