David Sedaris's offbeat personal essays and narration have long been a favorite. He's aware of his own quirks, and he shares them in such a delightful, self-effacing way. Most of his essay collections have been pure entertainment with a hint of sharp observation that always makes them feel smart. Calypso follows this path, but it's darker and more poignant.
The familiar Sedaris family is aging, and with age comes all the attendant self reflection and life changes. This plays out differently for each family member and affects their relationships with one another. In this collection, most of the family feel closer to one another than they ever have before, with the exception of Tiffany, whose suicide shadows most of the essays here.
Sedaris' writings on Tiffany's suicide, as well as aging, politics, addiction, and regret, make this essay collection darker and more reflective than many of his previous. He is still dryly funny, and the ability to prompt regular laughter while writing about such serious topics is a particular talent.
Sedaris has been writing about his family for so long that they may start to seem like characters, frozen in time on the pages, rather than real people for whom the years are passing. As Sedaris faces aging--both his own and that of his family--so too do his long-time fans, who know them only through the bits and pieces he chooses to share. I anticipate an ongoing change in tone in the coming years, but I will continue to read and listen for as long as Sedaris is writing.
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