Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-comic Memoir (Paperback)
From the cocreator, writer, and star of the TruTV sitcom Those Who Can’t, and one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch,” this is Adam Cayton-Holland’s “heartbreaking work of genius” (Booklist) about the comedian’s relationship with his younger sister, who took her own life.
Meet the Magnificent Cayton-Hollands, a trio of brilliant and precocious teenagers from Denver, destined to change the world. Anna, Adam, and Lydia were taught by their father, a civil rights lawyer, and mother, an investigative journalist, to recognize injustice and have their hearts wide open to the universe. They grew up raised on the belief that to live meant to absorb everything that came their way—the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking.
Adam chose to meet life’s tough breaks and cruel realities with stand-up comedy; his older sister chose law. However, their youngest sister, Lydia, wrestled with depression and ultimately took her own life—a devastating tragedy that struck the Cayton-Holland family at the same moment Adam’s comedy career was finally getting off the ground. This revelatory and “darkly poignant” (Kirkus Reviews) memoir is Adam’s story of how he learned to move forward in the wake of unimaginable tragedy.
Both a moving tribute to a lost sibling and an “inspiring, tragic, and at times heartrendingly funny” (People) guide to navigating loss, Tragedy Plus Time is “essential reading for anyone who has ever lost someone, anyone who has ever grieved someone, or anyone who has ever loved someone” (Kumail Nanjiani, Academy Award-nominated writer and star of The Big Sick).
About the Author
Adam Cayton-Holland is a national touring comic who has appeared on Conan, @midnight, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, Happy Endings, Deadbeat, Flophouse, Hidden America with Jonah Ray, and was named one of Esquire’s “25 Comics to Watch” and Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch.” Adam co-created, writes, and stars in truTV’s Those Who Can’t along with his fellow members of the comedy troupe, The Grawlix. His albums I Don’t Know If I Happy and Backyards are available on iTunes, and his writing has appeared in Village Voice, Spin, The A.V. Club, and The Atlantic. Adam has been described as “genial” and “with pretty decent teeth.” He is the author of Tragedy Plus Time.
“This book is so heartfelt and brilliant that I’ve informed my lawyers not to proceed with the lawsuit for plagiarism against the title. And it was looking like a big win, money-wise. Oh well.”
“Adam has made me laugh many times. This is the first time he has made me cry. A gorgeous work about accepting the unthinkable with grace, humor, and love. Essential reading for anyone who has ever lost someone, anyone who has ever grieved someone, or anyone who has ever loved someone.”
—Kumail Nanjiani, Academy Award-nominated writer and star of The Big Sick
“A fearless, heartbreaking, and healing book told with searing honesty, love and wit.”
“Tragedy Plus Time absolutely gutted me—then it filled me with hope. I hate that Adam has this story to tell, but he tells it so beautifully.”
“Self-mockery and true pathos make for a powerful mixture in this nuanced memoir … Cayton-Holland’s wry and wiry voice here elegantly transitions from half-cynical stand-up pose to thoughtful interpretation of the contradictions of grief (“I like to remember her constantly; I try not to think of her at all”) without losing a beat. This is a vivid and heartbreaking account of two bright lives, one blessed with hard-fought success and one cut painfully short.”
“Funny and darkly poignant.”
“A searing memoir…This is Cayton-Holland’s heartbreaking work of genius: his story of Lydia, his best friend and closest confidant, and her tragic suicide at 28. He writes with candor and care of Lydia’s bright light and his own darkest hour, making for an unforgettable read.”