Following last year’s release of A CARNIVAL OF SNACKERY, his second collection of diary entries, David Sedaris returns with HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, his first new collection of essays since 2018’s CALYPSO.
In HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, David touches on a multitude of topics including school shootings, his own mortality, the deaths of both his sister and his father, touring and the Covid-19 pandemic, all of which are presented with his signature humorous slant or skewed world view.
I’m not going to lie, when I received an advanced copy of Sedaris’ new book, I was about as excited and appreciative as you can get. I tore through this book in two days, which I suppose was not hard given that it was under three hundred pages and like all of Sedaris’ work, was easily digestible.
While he touched on the pandemic in his last collection of diary entries, he produces fully fledged out thoughts and experiences this time around, the best being his inability to hoard supplies in New York City during the first few weeks of lockdown (“I returned home with a quart of buttermilk and taco shells”) as well as his awe of Manhattan as it transformed into a ghost town of sorts.
All the usual players make appearances including his siblings, his Dad and his boyfriend, Hugh. The essays about his father’s decline are both heartbreaking and hilarious, a line I sometimes feel that only Sedaris can walk. Despite his father’s many, many faults, he was always someone I looked forward to hearing about with every new book. It’s sad to know we’ll never get new material (although, to be fair, his Dad lived to ninety-eight, so he had to go sometime).
It’s worth pointing out David’s experience with the pandemic as he often says in the book that it was surprising that he, nor Hugh, contracted the disease (to date). His day-to-day life didn’t really change outside of his inability to tour; he still hosted dinner parties, flew between NYC, Europe and North Carolina, and he spends a good chunk of an essay or two lamenting his inability to shop. It is frustrating to hear given that many of us tried our best to remain isolated and those that couldn’t, like frontline healthcare workers, didn’t have that option. But it’s not like Sedaris isn’t aware of that – he often points out how lucky he was/is.
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is another great collection of essays from one of my favorite writers. I always struggle with whether or not to read or listen to his books, but when presented with a free copy, I couldn’t turn it down.
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is scheduled for release in May 2022.