Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir (Touchstone)

From Adam Cayton-Holland, one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch,” comes a “heartfelt and brilliant” (Patton Oswalt) memoir—Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir about the author’s beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking relationship with his younger sister and the depression that took her life.

Adam Cayton-Holland went from a painfully sensitive kid growing up in Denver, Colorado, to a writer and performer with a burgeoning career in comedy. His father, a civil rights lawyer, and his mother, an investigative journalist, taught Adam and his two sisters to feel the pain of the world deeply and to combat it through any means necessary. Adam chose to meet life’s tough breaks and cruel realities with stand-up comedy; his older sister pursued law like their father; their youngest sister, Lydia, perhaps the most brilliant and talented of the “Magnificent Cayton-Hollands”, struggled with mental illness and ultimately took her own life.

Adam and Lydia (“Lee”) grew up cracking jokes and running bits off one another, developing a similar, shared sense of humor. Their close bond continued through young adulthood as Lydia worked both at the door and behind the scenes giving incisive notes on Adam’s increasingly popular comedy shows. The devastating tragedy of Lydia’s suicide strikes the Cayton-Holland household at the same moment Adam’s career is finally taking off. Yet success is hollow as Adam falls deeper and deeper into his grief, reliving the trauma of Lydia’s death until he seeks help through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Both a moving tribute to a lost sibling and an inspiring meditation on mental illness, grief, and recovery, Tragedy Plus Time is an unsentimental, unexpectedly funny, and incredibly honest love letter to every family that has ever felt messy, complicated, or (even momentarily) magnificent. In the tradition of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Truth & Beauty, this memoir offers a tender look at the bonds that hold a family together and the difficult truth that you can’t always save the person you love.

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” (2013) and Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” (2015). 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 Adam Cayton-Holland Performs His Signature Bits, 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 currently resides in Denver, CO.  Please visit Adam at:

Photo by Ryan Brackin

Event date: 
Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-comic Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501170164
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Gallery Books - August 21st, 2018