Calypso 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.

Book Reviews


Calypso4 star

Wonderful and insightful book that was a pleasure to read.45

cant take the NRA ads anymore.

Loved it.5 star



Bad1 star

Not funny at all. Gross and uninteresting.15


Best one yet5 star

This book is a collection of his most honest and personal writing yet. There is still humor and laugh out loud moments, but the stories are so much deeper than that. This is an introspective collection of essays that I truly love every time I read them. Spectacular. (The essay about Carol the fox is my favorite.)55


Calypso5 star

Ok, but not what I had hoped for. Dark, sad, and with a mean streak that I didn’t need. I’ve loved Sadaris’ other works, but this was disappointing—I think it was the self-absorbed back note that wasn’t present before. Not giving up though, and if this was cathartic for DS in some way, I’m glad for it.55


Calypso4 star



Hilarious5 star

Within the first 3 pages I was laughing out loud. What an enjoyable read.55

Blind Zeppelin

Unworthy1 star

This is the second book I read of Sedaris. I wouldn’t have finished the book if my impression of the first book was not positive. I was very disappointed with the self important tone, the stories that have no real insights or any depth. They were mostly not witty of funny either. I was particularly repulsed by the newly rich shopping spree in Japan, and the juvenile potty humor. He certainly lost his way in this book. It was a waste of my time.15


Funny but pointless3 star

The book is an easy read and is pretty funny in parts, but I didn’t see if there was any point the author was trying to make, if at all. I am not sure if there is anything I learnt from the book overall.35

Mommy's Night Out

Dark Humor Goes Awry3 star

I like David Sedaris’ writing style. It’s easy to read, flows nicely from sentence to sentence. Usually I enjoy his writing. This book was dark. Heavy. Sad. And not funny or humorous. Sure, there is a passage here or there that offers a chuckle. Overall, I felt sad for him and his family. An alcoholic dead mother, a bipolar dead sister, a pack rat, hoarding barely alive mean old SOB father, greedy sisters, and a mostly out of the picture brother. That 6 grown siblings could produce only 1 daughter/niece between them is a testament to dysfunction. And the opening chapters of excess just made me mad. A house in England, a spur of the minute beach house purchase on OBX, shopping sprees in Japan for crap no one needs. It’s like his narcissistic ego is saying, “Look at me! I’ve made it as an author! I have money to blow and you don’t.” What exactly makes him better than Trump then? He refused to see his sister, divides his house into mine (better) and the rest of the family (worse), gloats about his too hard, writer’s life existence. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but just couldn’t.35

Other Books by David Sedaris

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