Ammie's Reviews > What Is the What

What Is the What by Dave Eggers
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's review
Aug 03, 2011

really liked it
Read from July 19 to 31, 2011

Alternately amazing and a little unsatisfying, although certainly more of the latter. Dave Eggers has been doing these books where he essentially writes down the story of somebody who lived through a destructive event and writing them down in the form of "novels"--this book, about the Sudanese civil war, was the first, followed by "Zeitoun", a book about a Syrian man in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. I think that the concept is great--reflect light on a human tragedy through the lens of one human's tragedy--and that the execution has generally been fantastic. This one didn't grab me quite as tightly as Zeitoun did, although I'm grateful to have read it and gained some small understanding of a place and time and series of events I knew virtually nothing about. It's just that this particular novel covers so much ground, past and present, that sometimes I lost track of where my grounding was in the text. Still, I would highly recommend this, and I plan to learn more about this region and its human stories based on the strength of this one.

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