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Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous owner's name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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You Shall Know Our Velocity Paperback – July 1, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Headlong, heartsick and footsore.... Frisbee sentences that sail, spin, hover, circle and come back to the reader like gifts of gravity and grace.... Nobody writes better than Dave Eggers about young men who aspire to be, at the same time, authentic and sincere.” —The New York Times Book Review

"You Shall Know Our Velocity! is the work of a wildly talented writer.... Like Kerouac's book, Eggers's could inspire a generation as much as it documents it." —LA Weekly

"There's an echolet of James Joyce there and something of Saul Bellow's Chinatown bounce, but we're carried into the narrative by a fluidity of line that is Eggers's own." —Entertainment Weekly

"Eggers is a wonderful writer, bold and inventive, with the technique of a magic realist." —Salon

"An entertaining and profoundly original tale." —San Francisco Chronicle

“Eggers ’s writing really takes off -- his forte is the messy, funny tirade, stuffed with convincing pain and wry observations.” —Newsday

“Often rousing ... achieves a kind of anguished, profane poetry.” —Newsweek

“The bottom line that matters is this: Eggers has written a terrific novel, an entertaining and imaginative tale.” —The Boston Globe

“There are some wonderful set-pieces here, and memorable phrases tossed on the ground like unwanted pennies from the guy who runs the mint.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Powerful.... Eggers’s strengths as a writer are real: his funny pitch-perfect dialog; the way his prose delicately captures the bumblebee blundering of Will’s thoughts; ... and the stream-water clarity of his descriptions.... There is genius here.... Who is doing more, single-handedly and single-mindedly, for American writing?” —Time

From the Inside Flap

In his first novel, Dave Eggers has written a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss. It reminds us once again what an important, necessary talent Dave Eggers is.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400033543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In many ways, YSKOV is the polar opposite of AHWOSG. While Eggers' first book was angry and bustling with energy and chaos, here he takes a more leisurely pace, no less staggering, but in a more subtle and less fanfare way. The main character, Will, is diametrically different: he is melancholy and lonely, having recently lost his best friend and been physically beaten by a couple of anonymous attackers. So he decides to travel around the world handing out money to poor strangers with his friend Hand. They do it spontaneously, however, hoping that Providence will guide them to where they are supposed to be. So most of the places they decide to go to - Greenland, Siberia, Egypt, Mongolia, etc. - they never reach. Instead they end up in Senegal, Morocco, Estonia, and Latvia, and unlike most adventure stories, rather than finding adventure they find only a dead end. Their trip is a failure from start to finish - they never escape what they want to leave behind, and they never find where they want to be. They constantly abort their plans. Their philanthropy seems to help no one. Will tries to hop a horse buggy to hand the driver some cash, but falls on his face instead; they drive to the top of a mountain at night, looking for poor mountaindwellers, but find it empty and silent. This is a travel-adventure story made up of airport terminals, hotel rooms, empty beaches, vacant bars, desolate mountaintops and lonely woods. It is the 'fourth world', the desolate regions of the world where people rarely ever come and rarely ever stay.
Yet the fact that Will and Hand don't succeed is really the success of the story. It is not about the destinations, or the journey there, but about the things that lie in the past. Will's rememberance of his childhood are the most beautiful passages.
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Format: Paperback
If your reading the reviews of this book and at the bottom it says "Refers to the Hardcover Edition", then you should pay no attention to that review. The actual text of the book is different in the paperback edition than in the hardcover. As you can't actually get the hardcover anymore on Amazon.com, the hardcover review is pretty worthless. This book was originally released under the same title as now, but it was recently rereleased under the name SACRAMENT, but only available through the publisher, McSweeney's. SACRAMENT contained additional text written by a completely different narrator, and it actually turns the novel into something quite different.
Sure, the novel does get to a point where it becomes a series of foils and mishaps in various countries, but it is at that point, about two-thirds of the way into the book, that the new material takes place. This new material provides a completely different context for the actions that take place throughout the rest of the book. In a way, it makes the story more metafictional than I imagine it originally was.
The paperback edition contains the additional text, about twenty pages or so, that was not in the hardcover printing of the novel. So, for those of you who have only read the hardcover edition, I would recommend rereading, since the book is actually quite different than when you probably read it. If you're interested in it and thinking about reading it, I would highly recommend this work.
Eggers is more popularly known nowadays for his skills as a publisher of some of the greatest writing since the turn of the century, and editor of McSweeney's Quarterly, among other things. It's been a long time since his first book, and until I read this I thought his own work would simply be thrown by the wayside.
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Format: Paperback
I've watched Dave Eggers rise to fame from our shared corner of the world, and I thought his first novel was brilliant, but something has happened to Eggers' writing in this novel. What was once quirky and refreshing about his writing seems more like artifice in this book. More often than not, Eggers' writing and plot twists are less profound than they are show-offy. While I was reading the book, I felt like Eggers was a two-year-old prancing around in front of the reading public saying, "Look at me! Aren't I cute? Look at the adorable tricks I can do!"
Admittedly, some of Eggers' literary tricks in this book are cute, and there are moments of touching and hilarious prose. (My favorite line: "I opened my mouth but couldn't think of any way to answer. Someone was using my head to power a coffeemaker.")
But in the end, the plot feels too forced, the writing too self-conscious. Dave Eggers is a good writer. This book doesn't, sadly, fully reflect that. _
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Format: Paperback
For those of you that have not seen the hardcover edition, it needs an explanation. The book starts right there on the cover. There is no title, no auther, nothing like that -- just text. Then you open the book and on the inside cover is more text. Never a coverpage or anything, YSKOV speeds right into story.
The story itself is fast-paced and wonderful. Based on this and his previous work (Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), I believe that Eggers may well prove to be one of the enduring authors in my generation. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen was heralded as a great American Novel. Don't let publicity fool you: YSKOV is easily its equal. Eggers' writing is extremely smart -- making it all the more enjoyable. Never is he dull.
In YSKOV, the narrator fascinated me for his thought process. Eggers constructs a man who wants to find his place in the world, so he travels it. Yet for all of his travels, he doesn't seem to have any idea what to do when he gets there. As a result, the story is often humourous and often poignant.
While I recommend it to a broad audience, as a gift YSKOV would certainly resonate with the armchair traveler longing for his own whirlwind tour or the young graduate ready to start out in the world. As a final note, if you are considering this as a gift, I strongly suggest the hardback edition. Its presentation aligns nicely with Eggers' draw-you-right-in style, as well as being unique. I believe that the hardback editions were only released to "independent" bookstores -- a fact that may be appreciated by a budding idealist/activist.
However, please note that there have been changes between editions and the hardback and paperback aren't quite the same book. An interesting reason to buy your favorite booklover both editions.
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