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In this collection, Eggers (Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) is obviously straddling the line between being a writerand a very talented one at thatand being the spokesman for the new age of self-conscious writing. Reviewers are unanimously unhappy with a few of his literary pranks here. "There Are Some Things He Should Keep to Himself," for example, offers up five blank pages. But when Eggers throws off our expectations and starts writing, he shines. His longer stories are original, witty, and truthful. As his characters search for transcendence, Eggers and his readers are right there with them.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
In his first collection of short stories, Eggers shows himself to be, well, serious. Gone is the charming, smirky, self-conscious narrative voice that helped make A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (1999) so popular. Aside from the story "There Are Some Things He Should Keep to Himself," which consists of five blank pages, these short stories are unrelentingly sincere--sometimes too much so. Many of these stories feature Americans abroad--a man alone in Egypt, a woman (also alone) in Tanzania preparing to climb Kilimanjaro. In the collection's best story, "The Only Meaning of Oil-Wet Water," two old friends reunite in Costa Rica for a kind of loveless love affair. The accumulation of details--surfing together in the oil-wet water, an injured anteater in their hotel room--brings the story a haunting power. But some of the stories don't come together as well, and Eggers' fans may be disappointed that almost none crack a smile. Still, Eggers imagines emotionally and symbolically resonant scenes as well as any of his contemporaries, and this collection has several great ones. John Green
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Liked the stories' variety, and identified with several. But found it hard to see the overall intent. Recommend for a Dave Eggers enthusiastPublished 6 months ago by Ben
I enjoyed it. Simple, relate-able reading that was recommended to me by a friend.Published 8 months ago by DARCY BARLOW
If you like short stories, this is the holy grail.
I loved A Heatbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but to be honest, I like How We Are Hungry more. Read more
I became a Dave Eggers fan after reading his "Hologram for a King" novel last year. I thought it was the perfect combination of funny and cringe-worthy. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Joseph Landes
Everything eggers writes blows my mind and this was no different. Each story has a way of reaching into the soul.Published on August 4, 2013 by zach
I was glad to see Hand return in this collection--my first exposure to him was through You Shall Know Our Velocity (Vintage). Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by Patrick Garrett York
This was a selection for our book club and most of us found one or two stories that we could really relate to, and others that seemed way above our heads. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by kkristl
I've read and liked other work by Dave Eggars, so I was thrilled when I found this book at a library sale. Read morePublished on September 3, 2012 by Avid Reader
My boyfriend gave me this book to keep me occupied while he was cleaning our boat. It's foul--a total man's collection! But it's great, steeping with hilarity. I love it. Read morePublished on July 19, 2011 by Alexandra