What Is the What
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I have no reason not to answer the door so I answer the door. I have no tiny round window to inspect visitors so I open the door and before me is a tall, sturdily built African-American woman, a few years older than me, wearing a red nylon sweatsuit. She speaks to me loudly. "You have a phone, sir?"...
1. In what ways can What Is the What be understood as a hero’s journey? What features does it share with classic works like Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid or more modern works like Richard Wright’s Black Boy and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road? What are...
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
“Told with humor, humanity, and bottomless compassion for his subject. . . . It is impossible to read this book and not be humbled, enlightened, transformed.”
—Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
“Dave Eggers has made the outlines of the tragedy in East Africa . . . not only sharp and clear but indelible. An eloquent testimony to the power of storytelling, What Is the What is an extraordinary work of witness, and of art.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Eggers’s limpid prose gives Valentino an unaffected, compelling voice and makes his narrative by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical. The result is a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity–of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval.”
“[What Is the What] sings like a novel–a novel in which every phrase falls with exquisite, revealing precision and the themes of the story play out as satisfyingly as in a large-scale symphony.”
“A work of significant strengths, What Is the What is not only a valuable cultural document, it’s also an engaging and often compelling read. Eggers has crafted a novel notable for its writing as well as its historical relevance.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Hands down, Dave Eggers’ What Is the What stands as the single most thought-provoking, unusual and moving book I have read all year.”