"What Is the What" – A new novel – Dave Eggers

Truly Heartbreaking

In his new novel about a Sudanese refugee, Dave Eggers delivers nothing short of genius.

Dave Eggers’s new novel is best introduced with a list of what it does not contain. There are no charts, no pages left intentionally blank, no cartwheeling paragraphs that stand out for their high concentration of whimsical exclamation points. No footnotes, no apologia, no marginalia, and not a single grieving white male of high education and questionable maturity. In short, there are exactly zero indicators alerting us that we are in the midst of an Eggers production; yet one finishes this wrenching and remarkable book with the impression that it’s precisely what the author’s past work—his foot-stomping memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, the quieter fiction that followed, the expansive literary subculture he’s created through McSweeney’s—has been building up to…

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  • about me

    April Fools ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't' seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.