Tragedy Plus Time

A Tragi-comic Memoir

Tragedy Plus Time

“Inspiring, tragic, and at times heart-rendingly funny.” —People

Unsentimental, unexpectedly funny, and incredibly honest, Tragedy Plus Time is a love letter to every family that has ever felt messy, complicated, or (even momentarily) magnificent.

Meet the Magnificent Cayton-Hollands, a trio of brilliant, acerbic teenagers from Denver, Colorado, who were going 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 open to the universe—the good, the bad, the heartbreaking (and, inadvertently, the anxiety-inducing and the obsessive-compulsive disorder-fueling).

Adam chose to meet life’s tough breaks and cruel realities with stand-up comedy; his older sister, Anna, chose law; while their youngest sister, Lydia, struggled to find her place in the world. Beautiful and whip-smart, Lydia was witty, extremely sensitive, fiercely stubborn, and always somewhat haunted. She and Adam bonded over comedy from a young age, running skits in their basement and obsessing over episodes of The Simpsons.

When Adam sunk into a deep depression in college, it was Lydia who was able to reach him and pull him out. But years later as Adam’s career takes off, Lydia’s own depression overtakes her, and, though he tries, Adam can’t return the favor. When she takes her own life, the family is devastated, and Adam throws himself into his stand-up, drinking, and rage. He struggles with disturbing memories of Lydia’s death and turns to EMDR therapy to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder when he realizes there’s a difference between losing and losing it.

Adam Cayton-Holland is a tremendously talented writer and comedian, uniquely poised to take readers to the edges of comedy and tragedy, brilliance and madness. Tragedy Plus Time is a revelatory, darkly funny, and poignant tribute to a lost sibling that will have you reaching for the phone to call your brother or sister by the last page.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501170164 | 
  • August 2018
List Price $35.00 (price may vary by retailer)

Hear an Excerpt

Resources

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Tragedy Plus Time includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Adam Cayton-Holland. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In Tragedy Plus Time, Adam Cayton-Holland tells the story of his sister Lydia’s suicide. He brings you into their shared childhood, in which Lydia was the most sensitive of the three Cayton-Holland kids, through their memories as adults beginning to find their place in the world.

From a young age, Lydia felt the pain of the world deeply and intimately. Whether she encountered the loss of a family friend, the body of a dead animal on the side of the road, or even a mugger attempting to rob her at knifepoint, Lydia responded with the utmost empathy. After struggling with mental illness for years, she ultimately took her own life.

As Adam grieves Lydia’s death, he works to accept that there will be so many successes, joys, and even sorrows that he won’t get to share with his little sister. He comes to understand that grieving is not necessarily a process with a beginning and end; it’s a constant state of being with its own paradoxical highs and lows. As Adam says, “I like to re see more

About the Author

Adam Cayton-Holland
Photograph © Ryan Brackin

Adam Cayton-Holland

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

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US