Staff Picks: Calypso by David Sedaris

Book Cover - Calypso By David SedarisDavid Sedaris is a genre of his own. I enjoyed the audiobook as it is narrated by the author; the recorded book includes surprise (sorry!) live recorded readings as well. I understand that he pens many drafts, based on the audience laugh meter when he reads his new stories out loud.

I love how the stories interrelate in this collection, giving a great deal more resonance to certain themes. Middle age, old age, loss of a sibling, and a parent, and other sobering themes are treated humorously but lovingly. Life is so ridiculous sometimes. Like the moment that someone chooses to tell you exactly how your sister died. The quirks of people he knows and loves are made endearing and enduring... These family members and others whose portraits he draws live on in our hearts and minds forever... I want to do this for my parents (long gone)... which just goes to show you that many of us have incredible love for our parents despite the fact they are also the people who infuriated us the most.

His stories are revealing and yet he has somehow preserved family members' privacy at the same time. It works because he extracts traits and quirks from them and somehow weaves those quirks into observations of the world as he knows it. Finally, you get a sense of what Sedaris' life is like, at home and abroad. He loves his audiences and they love him and he spends a lot of time travelling to them!

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Read by Emily O.