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What is the What Paperback – October 9, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Thence comes the eponymous phrase whose unknowable answer frames Dave Eggers' latest book. Through the survival struggles of one of the country's thousands of Lost Boys, WHAT IS THE WHAT traces the late 20th Century history of Sudan, from the incipient struggles of the black African south against the Moslem-leaning government of Khartoum to today's current manifestation of this genocide, Darfur. When the story opens, Valentino Achak Deng has already left his native country for Atlanta, one of the many Lost Boys (and a smattering of Lost Girls) who have gained asylum and sponsorship in America, Canada, Australia, and other Western countries. Achak has been mentored and assisted to the degree that charitable organizations and personal acts of kindness can accomplish. Still, we quickly learn that he finds himself struggling at every turn to make enough money in menial jobs to survive, achieve a few modest comforts, and maintain respectable grades in his community college studies so as to seek admission to a full, four-year college.Read more ›
Be prepared, though, this is not a book that deserves a simple glance or casual committment. It's a brilliantly woven tale, mostly true, of a young Sudanese and his daily struggle to understand his place in wartime Africa ... and in the United States. Before you judge that this is a political tale and you watch enough CNN to know what's going on, consider the first reason why you're curious: you're looking for a good book, maybe one that you won't lend to anyone else because it might not be returned.
Here's what's going to happen. First, Valentino's voice will come alive. When you're pretending to laugh with friends at the bar, you'll hear Valentino's voice retell a story about lions that you just read hours before. You'll see what he sees and you'll tire easily, running with him through the desert or riding a bike for the first time. Your heart will break and you'll occassionally feel undeniable urges for hope and love and luck. You'll beg and plead your boyfriend/husband/friend to read it with you. And if you're like me, you'll get late-night emails from others, unsure if you've already read about Tabitha or not.
So, if you're looking for something simple and easy, something that maybe your Mom might read, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for something simply brilliant and deeply felt, this is something you might want to give your Mom. It may be one of the best gifts you could give.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is without a doubt one of the best and most moving books I have ever read. (Another one being "first they killed my father" about the Cambodian genocide ). Read morePublished 3 days ago by Claire Cunningham
I've only read 20% of the book; but, so far, I am entirely wrapped up in the horrifying events that Mr. Eggers lived through.Published 7 days ago by Ethel Braverman
The best part of this book for me, besides the tone and grace with which it was written, is the philosophical quandary of "what IS the what? Read morePublished 21 days ago by loraine
I had heard of the lost boys' story and that there was a documentary about it. This book, based on the story of one of those boys paints a picture of such unbelievable challenge,... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Rahle Dusheiko
This story of Sudan and the Lost Boys is sad, insightful, entertaining and even funny at the times. It is an honest book that is well written. I would recommend it.Published 1 month ago by Liadh Conway
Interesting story, but writing did not capture my interest. I ended up skimming through it as it was very drawn out and long.Published 1 month ago by Penny Block