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You Shall Know Our Velocity

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  24,710 Ratings  ·  1,506 Reviews
You Shall Know Our Velocity is the first novel from Dave Eggers, author of the bestselling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Although this is a work of fiction, its themes, preoccupations, and even its pair of central characters will feel strikingly familiar to readers of his unorthodox autobiography. Where A Heartbreaking Work charted, among many, many oth ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 27th 2003 by Hamish Hamilton Ltd (first published September 1st 2002)
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Greg
Dec 15, 2008 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Preface to the fourth edition:

I wrote this a few years ago, back when I had just finished reading the book, but before I had died. I still haven't died so that's beside the point. I'm procrastinating right now, and copying this from another site where this originally appeared.

Original Preface
There are three ways that I pick out books to read. One is through the convoluted and serpentine way that I choose most of my books. The second way is by catchy covers promising pop-culture hipness. This sec
...more
John
Sep 07, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a little torn here, because I feel like I was supposed to like this book, so part of me wants to pretend that I didn't like it. It just seems so blatantly directed at exactly who I am, a late 20's person confused about what direction to take in life. It's like a movie where you know they are trying to make you cry, and you do cry, and then feel bad about it because you know that they played you like a fiddle.
But as much as I'd like to resist it, I am a fiddle and this book played me. I iden
...more
Joeji
Jun 22, 2007 Joeji rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People willing to go out and blow $12.99
Hey main character, are you upset about something? Is nothing working out for you? AWWWWWW poor baby! Did you experience a personal loss that you found painful? Oh no! You must be the first person ever to feel pain! I feeeeeel sooooooo baaaaaaaaad for you! Are you going to tell us what happened? Oh, you'd rather give it to us bit by bit to keep up the suspense? Ok, that works (pbbbbttttt). Do you find things in normal everyday life hard to take, Holden Caulfield? Do you want to share with us exp ...more
Mark
Aug 20, 2007 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this novel is a misnomer. The protagonists -- Will and Hand -- are miserably slow and plodding. Full of piss and vinegar, but with little to actually back it up.

Basically, they plan to fly around the world in a week and give away $32,000. They make it to Africa and Eastern Europe. That's it. And the back of the book reads, "$32,000 must be given away in a week, around the world. But why?" That question is never answered.

Not only is the book's flow sluggish, but it's a complete min
...more
Sarah Wingo
Really 2 1/2 stars

I'm not sure what to say about this book really. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it. I very often found myself enjoying Eggers's writing style while being annoyed with the story itself.

I don't really understand what it is with male writers that makes them want so badly to write these books about disillusioned young men who are basically losers. I mean this book is essentially Catcher in the Rye for people in their late 20s. I don't know I just have a problem with characters in
...more
Suzanne
I loved the writing, I really did. Imaginative and colorful and funny. There was just too much of it.

I think the whole book could have been trimmed by 20 to 30 percent and been much more enjoyable. It’s divided into 3 parts, and in my edition they have ratios that are almost too mathematically precise to be a coincidence. The first 250 pages were Will’s first person account of his and his friend Hand’s frantic, limited-to-one-week, global travels trying to unload $32,000 in cash through various
...more
Igor
Feb 11, 2008 Igor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heart Dave Eggers. This book is awesome, especially if you enjoy traveling in obscure countries and dissecting ridiculous adventures for meaning. Eggers' style is very sticky and his humor is right in my wheelhouse. I liked this book significantly more than "A Heartbreaking Work..." (which was a fun read nonetheless). Something about the fact that it's a true novel and not quite as self-indulgent and autobiographical.

Anyway, I only feel slightly silly saying this is one of my favorite books. A
...more
julieta
Jun 17, 2010 julieta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-americans
Before I get into the story of this book, and what I thought about it, I have to start with this. I LOVE the paper it's made of!! Really! It makes me want to write, in a typewriter, and live in some far off place, the color, the texture, wow, I tried to find out what they used but there is no information on the subject. I think I probably finished the book because of that wonderful paper it is made of. With paper like this, how can I even consider going on to electronic books?

Now, for the story
...more
Mark
Aug 11, 2008 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oriana
The thing I remember most strongly about this book is just toodling along, minding my own business, and then boom! pow! meta! mmmmmmmetametametameta! META!. Did Dave Eggers invent meta? For me, he invented meta. And no one, before or after or since or whenever, will come close to giving me that gasping shocked awe. Fuck off, haters; I love him so so so.
Kerry
Apr 19, 2011 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorable impression of this book is based partly on hearing Dave Eggers speak at the Newport Beach Library. I found his regular-guy persona to be very charismatic, his commitment to the work of the "826" tutoring centers to be inspiring, and his enthusiasm for the written word to be refreshing.

"Velocity" is funny and touching, and not what I expected (in a good way). The blurbs say this is a story about a couple of guys who travel around the world in order to give away $32,000 in one week. S
...more
stuart
May 16, 2008 stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to stuart by: Alex & Katy
I’m glad I read this although I had conflicting opinions all throughout the book.

The writing is unique and interesting and Eggers clearly has a powerful gift with words. The story is also challenging and thoughtful and I was continually fascinated by the concept. I loved the journey they took, and the juxtaposition Eggers creates between their being both constrained and liberated in their travels.

However, I don’t know if I love the execution. I found it to be a real effort to read and after a c
...more
Antonomasia
Remember those intoxicated days of the the early 2000's financial boom? Positive thinking? Anything was possible? There would always be more money round the corner? Somehow you'd always get by?

Or perhaps you weren't quite feeling it, and scoffed at this stuff like Billy Bragg dismissing a decade of glorious synthpop and silly clothes in one anti-Thatcher tirade. Though, on the basis of cosmic ordering infomercials featuring Noel Edmonds, and Kirsty and Phil's Pickfords porn, who could blame you?
...more
Selena
Jul 17, 2008 Selena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-culture
I’ve been reading You Shall Know Our Velocity (currently re-titled to Sacrament) for over a month. Usually, when school is out, and it is, I average about a week to a week and a half on any given book. I haven’t finished it and I must tell you, the problem isn’t me. For once.

I’m half-way through the book and thus far, aside from traveling to a few countries and trying to tape money on goats (I’m pretty sure it was goats), nothing has happened. I know that the main character’s face is severely me
...more
Tori
Jul 19, 2007 Tori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something a little frustrating about Dave Eggers. I genuinely think that he is a wonderful, gifted writer. He captures certain moments so completely and beautifully that I'm astounded past the point of envy. But he doesn't know when to quit. This is a fault I'm finding in a lot of contemporary writers like Michael Chabon and David Foster Wallace; as gifted as they are, they seem to lose their focus in the enjoyment of hearing/reading themselves. Wallace is particularly bad at this (I don ...more
Ryan
Jun 02, 2013 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Legitimately, probably the worst novel I've ever read. Neither interesting nor intellectually intriguing, it seems Eggers debut novel was meant to satisfy nothing more than his public posture.
Take a deep breath all you uninteresting white males: your story is not unique, your suffering is not beautiful. You are a selfish asshole, just like everyone else, yet without fail an infinite number of these "cerebral" authors sublimate their own perceived struggles into meaningless, emotionless, and r
...more
Stephen Gallup
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Praveen N. Jayasuriya
May 08, 2011 Praveen N. Jayasuriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Love the style of the prose, it is at times erudite and at times completely utterly batshit insane! I've only read about 20% so far and this is what I've gathered: Will, the protagonist and narrator posed for a light bulb advertisement (a silhouette of himself fixing a bulb while on a step ladder) by Leo Burnett and as payment for his services received a stock option in the light bulb company. In short he is 80K richer and hasn't figured out what to do with all the money also he got "the shit ki ...more
Caroline
Jan 21, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it
i love dave eggers. this is the main character describing how his mind works (he sits at a desk at the top of a grassy hill overlooking a meadow and stream, and the library is inside the hill and is staffed by little pale, oily, hairless people that look like moles):

"And as much as I value the efficiency and professional elan of the library staff, I'd begun recently to worry about a new wrinkle in their procedures. For the most part, they're supposed to act on my requests when I make requests, a
...more
Mary Rose
Though this book is compared to On The Road, the similarities stop at both books being about travelling. While Kerouac describes, with compassion and care, his fellow human beings, Eggers draws broad sketches of the people he meets.

The main character, Will, doesn't change. The most worthwhile conversations he has are in his own mind, in which he makes up responses for the people he is talking to. This does absolutely nothing to further the plot.

There are some truly beautiful moments in the book
...more
Chaitra
I read the book, read the reviews, found out that I completely missed what I think was a major plot point. That couldn't be, because I read it from cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely. I then realized that the version of the book I read was later revised, with an additional segment, with the major plot point. Duh. Thanks Eggers, quirky author you. I'm all for gimmicks, but honestly.

I'm not sure I understood what Will and Hand stood for, since not much of their actions have a background, not
...more
Jamie
Jan 16, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Two close friends decide to travel around the world in a week and give away $32,000 to random people. This includes creating a treasure map for children in Estonia and delivering a bouquet of flowers to a sleeping family in Senegal. Their adventures are comical, and easy to relate to if you've ever gone on a trip with not much planning. The results of this journey are unexpected eye-opening experiences and a few disappointments (Morocco looks a little like Arizona). Through all their travels and ...more
Kate Z
Nov 09, 2012 Kate Z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will start this by saying "I love Dave Eggers." My next thought is that his editor(s) all too often don't do him any favors. This thought is not my own - the credit goes to my friend Joanna who said it first - but this 400 page novel should have been maybe 250 pages. I thought the same was true for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. With that said, there was a lot (too much!) that I loved about this novel. My real complaint about the novel is that there was too much of it.

I understand
...more
Carl R.
May 06, 2012 Carl R. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I usually don’t blog books I don’t like, but You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers deserves special treatment because it proved such a disappointment. The opening sentence is one of the best I’ve ever seen (The caps are from the text itself.)

EVERYTHING WITHIN TAKES PLACE AFTER JACK DIED AND BEFORE MY MOM AND I DROWNED IN A BURNING FERRY IN THE COOL TANNIN-TINTED GUAVIARE RIVER, IN EAST-CENTRAL COLOMBIA, WITH FORTY-TWO LOCALS WE HADN'T YET MET. IT WAS A CLEAR AND EYEBLUE DAY, THAT DAY, AS
...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
May 27, 2012 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the earlier version from 2003 (without the exclamation mark). I understand the novel was reworked at a later time by Eggers.
I was astounded by this novel. I found it great reading.
I will leave other readers to draw their own conclusions about the sanity or otherwise of the main character/s.
What I was so engaged by was the depth of exploration of the psyche of Will. The reader truly sees the world through another's eyes, and it's a wholly different experience.
As crazy as the storyline soun
...more
Betsy
Apr 13, 2008 Betsy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dave Eggers writes beautifully, yet his novel never seems to inspire any connection between the reader and the characters. The plot line seemed familiar, two young men, without plans traveling the world. The impetus for the trip seems to be the death of a childhood friend. The two remaining friends, the main Character who hasn't done much with his life and Hand, a good looking, risk taking, non motivated individual decide to give away a large sum of cash that the main character has acquired. The ...more
Corey
May 28, 2015 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised I hadn't heard more about this one prior to picking it up. You Shall Know has Eggers in top form. Never mind all the clever metafictional pyrotechnics (all of which are very well done, by the way)--within lies everything you'd want in a novel. Laughter a-plenty, beautiful prose, wonderfully executed dialogue, passages that you'll want to read back two, three, four times. I've found through Goodreads that my fatal weakness as a book-reviewer is that when I really like something, I o ...more
Jake
Aug 31, 2015 Jake rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A strange one for me. I was bored, then intrigued, then bored again, then excited, then disappointed. I didn't like the the narrator or his sidekick who were 27 but came across like 12 year old boys. The Boo Hoo factor was pretty forced. But I loved a few sections. So there. I do like how the 3 Eggers books I've read as of this moment have had very distinct vibes. He's definitely someone I'll keep reading.
Michael
Jul 20, 2008 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Amanda
A twentysomething kid from Wisconsin, along with a friend, travels across the world to give away money and cope with the death of his brother. Inconsistent overall. Eggers composed some great passages, but these were interspersed with some awfully preachy writing that I found unappealing. The character were so, so naive. Without the brother subplot to provide some much-needed heft to the story, this would have been a bad road-trip novel. Overall, though, I still liked the book.
Will
Nov 06, 2016 Will rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't have a plot; furthermore, the protagonists (Will and Hand) have abysmal foresight and end up disgracing themselves in public and worse. This is ironic, considering that their goal is to give thirty two thousand dollars to the poor.

Will is motivated by guilt and by grief. He's been beaten by anonymous people, and had Jack, an almost anonymous friend die. He's paid by a faceless corporation more money than he feels he deserves for a trivial amount of work. So what better way to r
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Page number correction ISBN 1400033543 3 22 Apr 12, 2014 03:37PM  
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Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more
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“All I ever wanted was to know what to do.” 204 likes
“You invite things to happen. You open the door. You inhale. And if you inhale the chaos, you give the chaos, the chaos gives back.” 177 likes
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