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A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius

A Memoir Based on a True Story

About The Book

"Exhilarating…Profoundly moving, occasionally angry, and often hilarious...A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is, finally, a finite book of jest, which is why it succeeds so brilliantly" (The New York Times Book Review).

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the unique, moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. In his distinctive style unlike any other memoir, Egger's story is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive, as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

About The Author

Dave Eggers is the bestselling author of seven books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and What Is the What, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin; and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Eggers is also the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. A native of Chicago, Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 12, 2013)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476737546

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Raves and Reviews

Jim Lewis author of Why the Tree Loves the Ax This is a blurb. It conveys no information about the book whatsoever, no useful account of its contents, nor any serious comment as to its qualities. Authors like getting blurbs because they indicate that the author is an amiable and well-connected fellow; other authors like giving blurbs because it's free advertising for their own work. Editors and publicists like blurbs because blurbs help legitimize their own generally rather timid publishing decisions. You, the reader, are not exactly ill-served by this process -- it is, at worst, a harmless display of vanity and insecurity -- but if you're looking for a reason to buy and read this book, you're better off relying on the advice of other readers whose taste you share, or what minimal sense of the writing herein you can glean by standing here and skimming through the pages.

David Remnick Eggers is an original new voice, the real thing. When you read his extraordinary memoir you don't laugh, then cry, then laugh again; you somehow experience these emotions all at once -- and powerfully.

David Sedaris The force and energy of this book could power a train.

David Foster Wallace The thing took off for me in the basement and didn't stop. I am scared to fly and find it hard to read on planes, but coming back from Washington I was in the part about the cemetery and Bonaduce and the cremains looking like cat litter and it being her birthday, and I didn't even notice we'd landed till everybody started getting up. I shit you not. That is a big deal. A note is hit there, and sustained -- it is terribly, terribly moving, without being in any way gooey or contrived. Fine, fine writing. And while I admired many of the headier, more po-mo comic bits -- the long meditation on the idea of a story about John's suicide, for example, as well as the fake dialogues with Toph where he metacriticizes the book and completely vivisects all your hypocrisies. These bits are strong in kind of the obverse way, i.e., they are smart and self-conscious without being cold. I thought the places where you cut loose and did arias of grief, like at the church, were the book's best art. Also its bravest: I believe I know how horrible is the prospect of bathos or sentimentality to you (it is to me, anyway, as a writer, and I don't have a history that's as off-the-charts sad and rife with bathos-hazard as yours), and I report here that I was almost as moved by your willingness to risk it as I was impressed by the high-wire skill with which you avoided it. It's a merciless book.

Lawrence Weschler Truly splendid. The key word in the title, of course, is "Staggering" -- and not just because of the subliminal pun off "Eggers." Rather, Eggers is some kind of Staggering Genius the way Pavarotti is a Singing one. When Kierkegaard got in this deep -- this endlessly self-ironizingly, loopily down-spiralingly deep -- he had to rely on God to save him. But Eggers somehow manages to save himself -- all his endlessly knowing self-undercutting somehow managing to cut clean through to something more bottomlessly profound: a simple wonder; a knowing wonder, to be sure, but no less abiding a Wonder for all that.

Rick Moody This book does not need a blurb.

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