Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity! and A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius
Eggers has been quite the literary darling. I’ve heard rave reviews of his work from friends and have relished in delighted at the witty, coastal intellgensia musings of McSweeney’s (particularly the Open Letters which are A1 prime) but I’m admitting defeat in the face of his long form work.
I started with You Shall Know Our Velocity!, a novel about two childhood friends attempt to deal with death and unexpected fortune. Reading the book made my heart incredibly heavy. The narrator is clinically depressed (or as much as you can armchair diagnosis a fictional character) and difficult to read. Eggers is a strong storyteller and the writing is masterful but I struggled to really engage with the book.
Determined to succeed (and because they came into the library at the same time), I picked up A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius. Jesus, that book is depressing. I associate Eggers with high wit and despite my dry sense of humor there just isn’t anything funny about a man watching his mother die of stage IV stomach cancer. I read 50 pages and returned it to the library.
It seems clear that Dave and I are better in an editor/reader relationship rather than an author/reader one. I’m fine with that. McSweeney’s is a joy and I greatly admire his work with 826 National (Seattlites, check out the Space Travel Supply Co in Greenwood!). I shall absolve myself of any Eggers FOMO.
And now, please enjoy the outtakes of me trying to properly capture my uncertainty.