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“I cannot recall the last time I was this moved by a novel,” writes Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) about Dave Eggers’ most revolutionary work of fiction to date. 180 degrees removed from the snarky, self-referential Eggers of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, this “memoir” of a Sudanese refugee brilliantly explores the human side of an international tragedy.
Eggers makes no secret that What is the What is a work of fiction, but its protagonist—Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee now living in the United States—is a living testament to a conflict that has claimed so many lives. In heartrending prose, Eggers illuminates the history of the Sudanese civil war through Valentino’s eyes. We follow his life as he’s driven from his home as a boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia. Valentino’s travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation—and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and finally resettles in the United States, from where this book is narrated.
In an astonishing novel about the challenge one indomitable man faces in a world collapsing around him, Dave Eggers brings his already formidable literary reputation into an entirely new arena.
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