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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Unabridged Audiobook MP3 CD) MP3 CD – Audiobook, 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 1,244 customer reviews

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MP3 CD, Audiobook, 2010
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Recorded Books (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440794146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440794148
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,406,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The arch tone of the title and the wit of the preface may blind readers to the real wonder of Egger's book: he's telling the truth. In a world of air quotes and the constant misuse of the word "ironic", Eggers is trying very hard to tell a difficult story. He writes of the death of his parents in the most unflattering terms, without the soft focus and belabored sentiment our culture has lead us to expect. The slow death of someone you love is sometimes horrible, and this story never denies that, or the way your mind escapes from that horror and focuses on trivia. While the writing may be self-conscious, it isn't pretending to be anything else, and the wonder is that Eggers is willing to accept everything that comes into his head, regardless of whether it seems appropriate. No other book has so honestly touched me since the death of my father, or more accurately captured what his dying meant to me.
Several reviewers have written of the way the book loses focus after the first section, but to me that is one of its strengths. In fiction the protagonist doesn't wander around pointlessly, especially not after a significant event like the death of a parent, but in the real world lives are untidy. As a new parent I appreciated the author's experimental attitude toward child rearing as well as his attempt to create a fascinating life for himself. The quality of the writing made his business woes, his menus, and his Frisbee obsession equally fascinating. The memoirs of a man who isn't afraid to show his own warts, but is touchingly considerate of those closest to him, this is a kind and engaging book.
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Format: Hardcover
Clearly this book isn't for everyone. It's incredibly self-reflexive. It's more than willing to employ a device while simultaneously satirizing it. Eggers, as described in his own words, is rarely likeable, noble, humble, or charming. Instead, he's self-indulgent, arrogant, and so full of neurosis that Woody Allen looks calm and confident in comparison.
And while these factors will elicit cries of how overrated the work is, I find them the fuel behind what is a darkly compelling fever dream. Eggers takes the theme of being consumed (by cancer, by being young and wanting to make a mark on the world, by the responsibility of raising a child while maintaining friendships) and exposes its results in a harsh light. And it's angry and difficult and ... well ... real.
Far different and more challenging than the back-patting, self-congratulatory, "Gee, aren't I a strong and admirable person for surviving these tribulations?" tone that fills most stories of this genre. I congratulate him on avoiding making things neat and tidy. The result is an astonishing, staggering, and, ultimately, heartbreaking work.
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Format: Paperback
Maybe I'm just too old. Maybe I'm just not cool or hip enough. It has to be me, right? After all, this book was a book of the year according to the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today among others. But I found it unreadable. Really. Sixty pages into this book and I wanted to just give up on it. Both of Eggers' parents died of cancer within a few months of each other and this is his memoir of their death and his raising of his younger brother. It actually starts off OK but fairly early in the book Eggers runs out of things to say. This probably could have been a good short story but at over 400 pages it just drags on and on endlessly.Read more ›
94 Comments 549 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I'm certainly not of the MTV generation, more like the AARP generation. This book cuts across generational lines with witty, profane, touching prose. The last few pages left me literally breathless. I'm going to pass this book around. But not before I read it again.
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Format: Paperback
I tried to like this book, really and truly I did. I thought it would be clever and unusual and brilliantly worded like a David Foster Wallace book can be. After all, I'd unfortunately paid good money for it. And it's not easy to be so critical about an autobiographical book in which the author's parents die and leave him raising his much younger brother - you really want to root for this book and the author behind it.

But it's awful. It doesn't matter whether Eggers really believes he's clever or is merely posturing as such for a lark. I'm sorry to be harsh, but if Mr. Eggers is anything in person like he is on the page, people must flee the room when they see him moving their way at a cocktail party. I can't explain why I felt compelled to finish this dull and tedious book, other than I felt it simply *had* to get better at some point. It doesn't.

Do yourself a HUGE favor: pass this one by. I wish Mr. Eggers and his family all the best, but a decent turn of phrase once in a while does not an author make. Don't believe anyone who would have you think that critics of this book simply don't 'get' it. In this case, there is no substance whatsoever and precious little in the smoke-and-mirrors department, either.

If you're looking for clever and/or funny, you'd be better off with Richard Russo's fabulous "Straight Man", Tom Perrotta's "Little Children", Katherine Dunn's "Geek Love", John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy Of Dunces" or a thousand other books I could rattle off. Really, ANY book is better than AHWOSG. It's that bad. Sorry. :)
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