Friday, 10 April 2009

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers

Read: January 2006

Not only does A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius have one of the best titles of any book ever written, but it contains one of the most enthralling passages I have ever read. It comes hot on the heels of a long passage in which their mother has just died after a long battle with cancer and Dave has become guardian of his younger brother. They are driving in the hills of California and it hits you suddenly, out of nowhere, the power of being young. From the bleak, disquieting atmosphere of one page, Eggers suddenly explodes into the most excitement-strewn, pulsing with energy, passage on youth I have read.

“Please look. Cam you see us? Can you see us, in our little red car? Picture us from above, as if you were flying above us, in, say, a helicopter, or on the back of a bird, as our car hurtles, low to the ground, straining on the slow upward trajectory but still at sixty, sixty-five, around the relentless, sometimes ridiculous bends of Highway 1. Look at us, goddammit, the two of us slingshotted from the back side of the moon, greedily cartwheeling toward everything we are owed.”

It continues like this for pages, an unending passionate celebration of life. It reminded me of early Bob Dylan, its complete belief in life and youth, the very invincible rejection of age, or death, or suffering of any kind. And simply for this passage this is a book everyone should read.

A Heartbreaking Work
is ceaselessly creative and always passionate, alive and a staggering. It will certainly break your heart: “I am at once pitiful and monstrous, I know.” And is it genius? Maybe. It is without doubt one of the most inventive books you will ever read.

7 out of 10

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

I think it's genius- modern genius, a unique voice I adore, adore. Great review.