- Paperback: 437 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 13, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375725784
- ISBN-13: 978-0375725784
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,107 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Paperback – February 13, 2001
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“A virtuosic piece of writing, a big, daring, manic-depressive stew of a book that noisily announces the debut of a talented—yes, staggeringly talented new writer.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“ Exhilarating…. Profoundly moving, occasionally angry and often hilarious…. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is finally, a finite book of jest, which is why it succeeds so brilliantly.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Eggers evokes the terrible beauty of youth like a young Bob Dylan, frothing with furious anger…. He takes us close, shows us as much as he can bear…. His book is a comic and moving witness that transcends and transgresses formal boundaries.” —The Washington Post
“[F]unny, wildly intelligent…. What’s consistent throughout is the full-throttle voice: the sensibility of the man who grieves his parents, who safeguards his brother, who knows that his own presence here can walk the line between ‘self-conscious’ and ‘self-devouring.” —The Boston Globe
“Eggers crafts something universal here, something raw and real and wonderful that transcends any zeitgeist and manages to deal trenchantly with ‘big issues’ that often prove too daunting for younger writers: mortality, youth the artifice of writing, the Zen of Frisbee. This is a beautifully ragged, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable book.” —San Francisco Chronicle
From the Inside Flap
The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is an instant classic that will be read in paperback for decades to come. The Vintage edition includes a new appendix by the author.
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Before even reaching the first page of the novel there is an acknowledgment page, well pages. The acknowledgment section is multiple pages of small print ravings. Eggers explains that you are more than welcome to skip this section. I recommend that you do not. It is long, but it is also humorous and will set the tone for the novel yet to come.
A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius is about as pompously and as self-centered as the title suggests. Eggers is a twenty-something year old who not only has to find his own way in life, he is doing so while coming to terms with death and parenting his younger brother. It can be seen as a coming of age novel where the narrator has to figure out how to live with death. Or, maybe it is a novel about death where the living are brought along as side characters. Either way, the book truly is genius.
It is also eccentric. If you are looking for a more traditional narrative structure or a more mature and likable main character, then you will probably passionately hate this novel. If you are looking for something that pushes the envelope, that looks at novel writing as an art form and isn't afraid to show the world in all its gory truth then you will probably love this book as much as I do.
That said, the book was hard to follow at times. If I wasn't paying attention I'd suddenly become aware that the story had drifted from present day to some other memory. The paragraphs stretched on, making it feel like a million anxious thoughts stuffed into one moment. Maybe that was the point. I did get used to the pacing, but the end of the book was the ultimate test of being able to stay with the story-- a bunch of run on ideas all shoved together. I've got to say, I have no idea what the end of the book was supposed to mean.
Upon reading the early pages of the book of the Preface and introduction, readers will have to adjust their lens of understanding to what they are familiar with in terms of reading a memoir. Eggers writes in a stream of conscious type of style that jumps from one thought to the next, but if one keeps a steady focus, all of the details that he provides relate to his circumstance. And he attempts to explain the direction of the book and areas that readers may want to skip or forward to the so-called meat and potato parts of his life by pages 200 to the conclusion. However, it does not hurt to read the entire book from beginning to end, especially the challenging parts of the first few chapters that guides the reader to understanding Eggers’ life after his parents’ passing, he along with his sister Beth and brother Bill became guardians to younger brother “Toph” (Christopher). Aside from the irony of his life, there is plenty of humor, especially in the chapter where is writes with much detail of the time he interviewed for the third season of MTV’s reality show “The Real World,” which he wanted so much to be a part of; one can say in addition, to this memoir the experience would have also been a form of therapy for him. It is instances such as that memorable event in his life and many other references that replays Eggers’ generation before there was Facebook or Twitter or any social media that would emerge in the next decade or two.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is a book of much insightfulness of the life of Dave Eggers that only he can tell. It is a story that can be read more than once because of the unique way that he shares with readers how his life was filled with unpredictability that he was able to successfully navigate despite the cracks and stepping-stones in between.
This is a wonderful memoir:genuine, cleverly written, hilarious at times while shockingly tragic at others.
It's a memoir with true character and a story I will not easily forget.
The ending left a little something to be desired, but this is a memoir, not a work of fiction, so it is what it is.
The people who are saying this is boring clearly picked the wrong book, I think many of them didn't realize that this was a true story and not a fictional tale.
Most recent customer reviews
The title doesn't apply here.