Saturday, August 15, 2009


For years now veteran bookseller and reviewer extraordinary Doris Mousdale has been telling me that I must read Dave Egger's first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but I never quite got around to it. The sheer scale of it put me off, a 500 page whopper, but finally last week I bought a copy of the paperback (Picador UK).

Now I can say without any doubt at all that Dave Eggers is a literary genius. What a book. It made me laugh, it may be cry, it delighted me, it saddened me, it moved me quite profoundly, and increased even further the admiration I have long held for the author He is the man behind the brilliant quarterly journal McSweeney's, and the Zeitoun Fundation, a charity whose purpose is to aid the rebuilding of New Orleans and to promote respect for human rights, and of course the author of two novels and many articles as well as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. This huge and memorable book tells the story of Eggers, then in his 20's and based in San Francisco, raising his much younger brother after the sudden death of their parents. I shall never forget it.

Thank you Doris for your promotion of Dave Eggers and his books. To all my readers out there I say, treat yourself and buy this book.

And just this month here in NZ Penguin has released Dave Eggers' lastest work - ZEITOUN - another haunting work, this time about a family, the Zeitouns, New Orleans residents ,and their battle with and since Hurricane Katrina, the USA's worst natural disaster.
One critic called Zeitoun "an instant American classic carved from fierce eloquence and a haunting moral sensibility". I would have to agree.

And in a typically generous Eggers way all author rpoceeds from the book go to the Zeitoun Foundation to aid the rebuilding of New Orleans.

This weekend The New York Times Book Review carries a review of Zeitoun.

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

He is my favorite new author in my lifetime.