Miss.'s Reviews > What is the What

What is the What by Dave Eggers
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Aug 23, 07


Dave Eggers tells Achack's story much like you would hear it if you had befriended the Sudanese refugee yourself. this book is like a conversation with a good friend. you start where you are. "hello, how are you, i am being robbed at gun point". you move back to the begining. "this is where i am from, the world was dust, we knew it to be Sudan, there was no more". but, to explain the begining, and to get to the end, you often have laughs in the middle. "successful with women". eventually a life is woven infront of you, and somewhere along the way you become a part of the story.

it's just that i haven't had a conversation like this before, one that starts with a burglary in Atlanta, draws you back to a small village in soutern Sudan, and marches you in and out of Ethiopia, the jungles, the rivers, the lions stare, over the bodies, into the refugee camps, into love, out of heartbreak. this is a vast story. this is a story told unflinchingly by the best of humanity, told of the worse afflicition humanity can bring down. of one person who knows his story intermingles with millions of others.
this is about the Lost Boys, about the civil war of Sudan, of apparent caste systems and the invisible ones, about loss and grief, the physical and emotional distress that a body can handle, love, war, violence, learning to write in dirt, growing up, struggle, transformation, adaptation.

mostly this is a clear voice that has every right to be broken or twisted, but it is not, it remains even lyrical, humorous.

what i am left with is the word war, how small it is. like boy. these words should have thousands of letters in them to convey their impact, because i had no idea. you can hear these words and they might conjur one image. maybe two or three. but what Dave Eggers and Achack have done is paint a huge landscape behind three letters. murals upon murals in my head, and what is hung on them is so touching, so sickening and moving, such a story is told that you can't go back to where you were before. boy. war.

give me better words. give us a better world to match this boy.

this might be one of the most important books of our time. it is absolutley required reading.
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