David Sedaris, the “champion storyteller,” (Los Angeles Times) returns with his first new collection of personal essays since the bestselling Calypso.
Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask—or not—was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As Happy-Go-Lucky opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.
But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he’s stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences, the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city, smelling only his own breath. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.
As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger’s teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone’s son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with Help Wanted signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.
In Happy-Go-Lucky, David Sedaris once again captures what is most unexpected, hilarious, and poignant about these recent upheavals, personal and public, and expresses in precise language both the misanthropy and desire for connection that drive us all. If we must live in interesting times, there is no one better to chronicle them than the incomparable David Sedaris.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It can be hard to find humor in loss, but best-selling author David Sedaris does just that in this hilarious and delightful collection of essays. With his signature snark and slice-of-life style, Sedaris shares his thoughts on aging in an extremely politically divided America during a pandemic, offering deeply moving life lessons along with the laughs. From moments where he cares more about the outdated names given to hurricanes than he does about his partner Hugh’s house actually being destroyed by one to darkly hoping that his father won’t actually “always be with him” after his passing, Sedaris expresses inappropriate thoughts that most of us wouldn’t dare to say out loud. His stories from lockdown had us laughing about the absurdity of those months spent in fear…especially when he considers buying coffee filters as a possible alternative to toilet paper. Happy-Go-Lucky is a much-needed source of light, especially if you’re going through a dark time.
Unrest, plague, and death give rise to mordant comedy in this intimate collection from Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day). The author covers rude service workers, difficulties in his own life, and goings-on in "Eastern Europe countries no one wants to immigrate to" where "hugs guard parked BMWs and stray dogs roam the streets.... There are cats too, grease-covered from skulking beneath cars, one eye or sometimes both glued shut with pus." He faces mask sticklers in a Target checkout line, sees a drunken mask scofflaw on a flight, and communes with BLM protesters while deploring their "lazy" slogans. Much of the book has a dark edge, as it recounts the decline and death of his 98-year-old father; Sedaris voices still rankling resentments "s long as my father had power, he used it to hurt me" and recounts his sister's accusations that their father sexually abused her. As always, Sedaris has a knack for finding where the blithe and innocent intersect with the tawdry and lurid: "His voice had an old-fashioned quality... like a boy's in a radio serial," he writes of a Nintendo-obsessed 11-year-old; " Gee willikers!' you could imagine him saying, if that were the name of a video game in which things blew up and women got shot in the back of the head." Sedaris's tragicomedy is gloomier than usual, but it's as rich and rewarding as ever.
Another great by Mr. Sedaris
When lockdown hit in 2020 I was gagging to know David’s perspective on the matter. Thank you for delivering
Brilliant as usual
Another classic, laugh out loud work from Mr. Sedaris. The world is SO much better for him being in it. He is a national treasure and should be carefully draped in bubble wrap for protection-designed by Issey Miyake of course. ❤️
Sad, sad…David hates dad
I’ve always loved Sedaris’ razor-sharp observation and description of people. This book seems to be a continual overhearing of how much someone hated his father, and all the ways the father deserved it. It made me sad.