In Review: “Calypso”

Calypso David Sears Book Buzzed

Calypso first caught my attention when I saw the first page of a book autographed in a very amusing way by the author. It was Little Brown Co. The publishers of Calypso who had posted the picture. I was intrigued by the name and decided to get myself a copy. After finishing it, I was convinced to make sure everyone who loves good literature picks this book. And hence this guest post.

Why is Calypso a Must Read?

Calypso is one of those books which leaves you following the believes and ideas of the author like I am now a Sedarist, the follower of Sedaris and his ideas presented in this book. The book opens with Sedaris introducing us to his holiday home in Emerald Isle, South Carolina. Holidays here have has been a tradition followed since adolescence and Sedaris still visits the house.

What are you doing?’ Hugh moaned as I stepped out of the dressing room. ‘That’s three pairs of culottes you’ll own now.’
All I could say in my defense was ‘Maybe I have a busy life.”
David Sedaris

Now from any other author, that sort of detail would be off-putting to read unless there was a ghost living in that house. But this one, oh, you want to know more about the house when David Sedaris writes because there is just this fable-like quality in his writing.

We learn this journey into his house has been to share about the turtle that lives in the sea section. He has a tumor on his head, making him look rather hideous. This section just adds to the charm of the part when Sedaris decline’s a surgery to have a tumor from his own head removed because the doctor won’t hand it to him to feed to the turtle. Dark and rather dry, the humor in these essays is of a rather cutting-edge kind. You could use it to etch on glasses and it still won’t lose its sharpness. The more you read into these essays, the vainer you find the worries of the world.

Sedaris dives into more serious subjects like the death of his mother and the memories from their Raleigh family home, but the dark tangy humor doesn’t leave his writing.  He describes Sharon Sedaris’ drinking habits that took her away from her the Sedaris clan. He does what you see in Hannah Gadsby do in Nanette- tell you a hauntingly dark and straightforward account of his failure and regret only to them turn it into a double-edged dark humored blow.

Another amusing account is of his obsession with his Fitbit – that keeps him walking around his house and collecting garbage. He mentions that at one point, the space around their house is so clean, that you could look for the first time and tell which one is Sedaris’ house – “It’s like going from the Rose Garden in Sissinghurst to Fukushima after the tsunami. The difference is staggering.”

One of the few writers who belong to the LGBTQ community, Sedaris describes his joy at reading the headlines on the day gay marriage was legalized in America. The difficulties faced by gay people back in the 70s come to surface with this essay and the human side wins over the witty author in this one section of the book.

For his fans, Sedaris is a cult and this is a very personal book. The book reads like a middle-aged man’s passionate embrace to his life so far, his mistakes and defeats, his failures and everything else that makes him human. There is death, family, emotional baggage and inner conflicts, but its all in a classic Sedaris style. It’s not always that you read a book with a man willing to tell you about everywhere he has failed, which is what makes Calypso unique and a must read.

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Khusboo Gupta

Author: Khusboo Gupta

I am a BMM Student. Who loves to travel and reading happens to be my first love. I either sleep, or read a book while munching on my favourite snacks.