Saturday, October 13, 2007

What is the What

Title: What is the What
Author: Dave Eggers
Penguin Books, 2006

I loved Dave Eggers first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which, incidentally, also had one of history's best titles. How a true story about losing both your parents to cancer (within three months of each other) and being stuck raising your kid brother can be wildly funny, I'll never know but it was. His second book, You Shall Know Our Velocity! was too depressing to finish, and his third went ignored by me.

Therefore, I started his fourth book feeling hopeful but a bit wary. I need not have worried. It is based on the true story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee, living in America. Since I know very little of the conflict in Sudan this is an interesting read merely because of its subject matter. To make the experience even more worth while, Edders is a good writer and a tender biographer. Deng's voice is present at all times, without compromising the literaryness of the work. Definitely worthy of people's attention!

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