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How We are Hungry
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How We are Hungry

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  10,240 ratings  ·  624 reviews


"What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust"

"The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water"

"On Wanting to Have Three Walls Up Before She Gets Home"

"Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance"

"She Waits, Seething, Blooming"


"Your Mother and I"


Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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451st out of 5,036 books — 4,911 voters
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Collections of Short Stories
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 26, 2007 Jeff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who just got out of prison.
Ah, another Dave Eggers book. I keep reading these and I might have to admit to liking his work. This is a book of short stories. Here is why this is a better book than A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: because the stories he wrote, are short stories. Eggers can’t meander here and there, and up and down before getting to the point. He has to hit it and hit it quick. Like the words themselves are costing him money. Like a hooker, a prostitute, a woman of the night. He can’t talk about MT ...more
Jun 23, 2007 Rachel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hipsters who like to look hip
I'm sorry, Dave Eggers. I am so, so sorry, because I love you (yes, personally), I love AHWOSG, I love You Shall Know Our Velocity, and I love What is the What. But I did not love this book.

At first I just thought I didn't like the shift from novel to short story, but I can handle it from Wallace, Alexie, and Fitzgerald, so that can't be it. These are just not very well done. To be honest, I felt like Eggers was coasting on his success here. Once you've published something like AHWOSG, everyone
Oh, Eggers. I don't want to admit it - but some of these are so close to being good.

There were four shorts in particular I enjoyed:
"She Waits, Seething, Blooming"
"Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will Not Die Alone"
"About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her"
Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly"

Or I should say, enjoyed until I remembered Eggers wrote them.

Thing is, Eggers has skill as a writer. He's just so much more goddamn full of himself, is the problem, I think. He meanders and he wanders
Mar 04, 2008 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eggers completists
Yeah, this wasn't very good. I like Eggers' other stuff, and I love me some McSweeney's, but this - not so much. They seemed like rough drafts. There's even one (Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will Not Die Alone) that has a great premise, but he doesn't actually write the story, he brainstorms how he would write the story. I know, I know, he's being very purposeful about all of this, I'm sure, but I don't think it makes for a very enjoyable reading experience. I wasn't interested in any of the c ...more
Dave Eggers es uno de los mejores escritores jóvenes norteamericanos del momento. Perteneciente a la next generation, junto a autores de la talla de David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen o Jonathan Lethem, Eggers ha sabido buscarse un hueco entre tan grandes compañeros.

Eggers nos habla en ‘Guardianes de la intimidad’ del absurdo de la vida contemporánea, del sinsentido de la época que nos ha tocado vivir. Mediante frases cortas, precisas y elegantes, Eggers nos deslumbra con sus ideas e intelig
"GOD: I own you like I own the caves.
THE OCEAN: Not a chance. No comparison.
GOD: I made you. I could tame you.
THE OCEAN: At one time, maybe. But not now.
GOD: I will come to you, freeze you, break you.
THE OCEAN: I will spread myself like wings. I am a billion tiny feathers. You have no idea what's happened to me."
- from The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water

If that doesn't make your jaw drop I can offer you no solace. To be fair, the shorter pieces in this fall below the mark, and the blank pages
Dave Eggers... Years ago, I read the short story "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned" (which just so happens to be in this collection) in Nick Hornby's collection Speaking With the Angel and enjoyed it. It wasn't my favorite piece in the collection, but I enjoyed it. I had never heard of Dave Eggers at that point.

Shortly after that, I started hearing *a lot* about him. Friends were recommending him to me, I heard interviews on the radio, read reviews and many, many arguments. I
Like your wardrobe, this book is incohesive, comfortable, curious and cozy. Instead of getting furious because nothing fits together and it's impossible for you to create a suitable outfit, just pause, take a thoughtful second glance, and appreciate that despite it all, you own a collection of hand-selected garments that are individually interesting, eclectic, and varied. Not all of us can show up at the party lookin' all What is the What.

I really liked the way the stories alternate from long, i
Oct 02, 2007 Baiocco rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People More Clever Than I
Why can't I get into Dave Eggers? I tried to read a Heartbreaking Work of yada yada yada (but only found that frisbee scene with his little brother satisfying), tried to be amused by McSweeney's-related things, tried to listen to critiques who deem him a master craftsmen and the voice of a generation, but I just think that he doesn't deliver. I do like his titles, and don't knock them as pretentious. How We Are Hungry is entertaining too in the same way that New Yorker fiction is entertaining, b ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Patrick rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore Eggers fans
I really enjoyed this book, but I'm a huge Dave Eggers fan. I'd probably enjoy reading Dave Eggers's grocery list. That said, some of these stories probably aren't as well thought out as an Eggers's grocery list, as he alternates 'legitimate' short stories with one-to-two page 'stories' that are little more than second drafts of a writing exercise.

However, the stories that were good were quite good, and 'Quiet' and 'After I was Thrown Into the River and Before I Drowned' (which was my introducti
A criticism I've heard about Dave Eggers is that his stories tend to be gimmicky, overly self-aware, unrealistic, jokey, or filled with dopey sentimentalism. Those criticisms may be true, but that doesn't prevent How We Are Hungry from being an absolutely great collection of short stories.

Having now read three Eggers novels and two short story books, I think his writing style is especially suited toward short stories, where he has a compact space to explore ideas that might otherwise get tired i
Benjamin Champagne
Fiction Deflation.
I wonder if I just don't get Dave Eggers. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is pretty much what the title suggests. One of the most unbelievable memoirs I've ever read. McSweeney's consistently puts out the most cutting edge mags and anthologies. They have the freshest ideas, synthesize combinations of avante-garde, interstitial, genre and academia. But then Eggers writes fiction and I feel like I'm missing something. It reads at a very surface level. To me it reads lik
I dunno, I just really really like Eggers and it's always been the case. 'How We are Hungry' sports a salmagundi of tales, ranging from the short-short (1 page) to the mini-epic (70 pages) and uniformly crowned with sensational titles: 'The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water', 'Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly', 'What it Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust.' (That's a stand ...more
Tulpesh Patel
The fact that Dave Eggers is a celebrated literary figure and writer is no secret but reading his work, especially How We Are Hungry, always feels like a very private act.

The sparse, punchy prose drive to the heart of what people hunger for: love, acceptance, companionship, approval, that thing they feel will fill that growing hole in the soul. I’m not normally a massive fan of short story collections as I am often left feeling unfulfilled; if the idea and the story is good enough, I (selfishly
This is a mostly enjoyable collection of stores. There are moments when I felt like Mr. Eggers got a bit carried away with his conception of his own cleverness, as in "Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will Not Die Alone". Come on, Mr. Eggers. Save it for your blog. People who are rabidly enamored of you may want to read stuff like that; I do not. I enjoyed "After I was Thrown Into the River and Before I Drowned" more than I thought I did. I was annoyed by "There are Some Things He Should Keep to H ...more
Sure, not every short story here will move each reader, but even with the ones that make you think "okay...what was the point of that?" its hard to deny Dave Eggers' unique gift with words, his interesting and well-formed characters, and his admirable creativity when it comes to manifesting abstract ideas and emotions into the mind and heart of his readers.

My favorite story, I think, was "Quiet" because it reached deep and resurrected some painfully real emotions on a personal level. I can't pro
A hit or miss collection of short stories. Most stories felt like pure nonsense, relying on gimmicky formats and contrived situations in lieu of having any actual content, almost like an Internet meme masquerading as something real. Still, there were a few stories that were quite fun (e.g., the "After I Was Thrown in the River..." story from the point of view of a dog, complete with ideas about the afterlife). And, there were a couple of stories (including "Climbing to the Window..." and "She Wa ...more
I definitely preferred some of the story lines more than others. And for some reason I can never remember the name of this book. I think because the names of the stories inside the book are so intriguing.
For Example: "What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust".

I loved his language and simple technique of writing in 'Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will not Die Alone' I
julie k.
i listened to this book while commuting around MN and WI my first week home for a visit from shanghai. i was reading "a heartbreaking work..." at the same time. i liked to two together, you may want to try it! there is a wonderful story from the perspective dog, a description of surfing that made me understand how it works and probably feels (yet still think its a skill i may never learn), and lots of great moments that showed nicely the failings of the narrators as very real humans. maybe i wil ...more
Tanmayee Thakur
Dave Eggers is so refreshing, so powerful.

Please do find time for this literary treat. Simply winderful
I love Dave Eggers. A really lot. This is only the second book of his that I've read, and it won't go on my favorites, but I was really pleased with the short stories a lot... I think his style lends itself to novels much better, since the longer short stories were my favorites:

"The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water" (Pilar and Hand from Velocity. What is not to love here. I was so happy I squealed.)

"Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance"

"Quiet" (This one broke my heart on so many levels.)
This is only the second Eggers book I have read, the first being Zeitoun, which I loved. I really enjoyed several on the stories in this book. Many of them are very short, 2-3 pages and I felt most of them ended very well. There were a few that definitely left me wanting more. A few of the longer stories seemed to drag on a bit to much for me, Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly and After I Was Thrown In The River And Before I Drown. Overall I'd still recommend this book based on the writing styl ...more
Linnie Greene
As with most short story collections, there were some in here that dazzled and some in here that didn't. Ain't that just the way things go? I particularly loved the longest story in the book, about a woman's ascent up Kilimanjaro, which transported me in the way only a few stories ever have. I could almost feel the sweat and the trepidation, the extreme temperatures and the anti-malarial nightmares, sitting there in my underwear on my couch under a ceiling fan in the South. Say what you will abo ...more
My first Eggers - he gives all his stories very arch titles, which I have always found a bit off-putting but the actual emotions and mental lives of his characters are compelling and (to me) realistic. These are short stories and I appreciate the fact that they don't end with a bang - unlike Flannery O'Connor or someone where the characters putter along for a few dozen pages and you're not sure what it's leading to until someone unexpectedly gets decapitated.
Hannah Louey

How We Are Hungry is a collection of short stories by acclaimed author, publisher and all-round over-achiever, Dave Eggers. Although to say Dave Eggers is an over-achiever is, somehow, an understatement. He became the custodian of his younger brother when he was still only 21, after his parents both passed away; his first book, a memoir, which describes the experience, went on to be a finalist for the Pulitzer prize; he started the independent publishing h
Well well well. A Hodge podgy of short stories. Some excellent, some just so so. Throw in a few amazing quotes and all in all I enjoyed. Hard to gauge against his other work. But it is safe to say if you like his other books you will like this also
Funny, odd stories about thoroughly offbeat characters and the challenges they run into in day to day life (or more often, create for themselves).

Many weird little gems here - but it did get a bit samey after a while.
My favorite story was "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned". Eggers is a beautiful writer and this particular story had me in tears - wonderful way to end the collection of short stories.
Somewhat uneven but a delightful collection of stories. The language is wonderful. Some short pieces experimental, quite bizarre. The longer stories moving, engaging. What will this writer do next?
aidan w-m
Sep 14, 2014 aidan w-m added it
Shelves: 2013
a few of the stories were good, but overall this is a pretty forgettable collection. some of the tricks worked, many didn't & came across as gimmicks. not bad, though.
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Dave Eggers is the author of seven previous books, including his most recent, The Circle, a captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism that soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco th
More about Dave Eggers...
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius What is the What Zeitoun The Circle You Shall Know Our Velocity!

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“GOD: I own you like I own the caves.
THE OCEAN: Not a chance. No comparison.
GOD: I made you. I could tame you.
THE OCEAN: At one time, maybe. But not now.
GOD: I will come to you, freeze you, break you.
THE OCEAN: I will spread myself like wings. I am a billion tiny feathers. You have no idea what's happened to me.”
“Goddamn sometimes I only want this feeling to stay and last.” 72 likes
More quotes…