Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers started McSweeney's. He runs a high school literary group in San Francisco called 828 Valencia that puts together The Best American Nonrequired Reading every year (they also sell pirate apparel I think). He wrote A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and a bunch of other books that people like, but the only one I've read is You Shall Know Our Velocity!

The story takes you inside the mind of a couple mental-whack-job characters as they travel the world giving away wads of cash. Their goal is to completely circle the globe in a week and hand out something like $30,000 to total strangers. The story's told from the perspective of an understandably disillusioned, fairly idealistic but totally irrational thirty-something named Will. His travel-mate, Will, brings a little reason and adventure along.

In this updated edition, Eggers has inserted a 50 page interlude narrated by Hand into the middle of Will's story. After reading both sides of the story, you can really see how unstable both of these characters are. The insertion is a good improvement on a great characterization novel. Everyone (in the English-speaking world anyway) can relate to parts of both of these personalities. Read it.


Carlton said...

Kelly is alive! Rejoice!

Christopher said...

I read this book. I liked it, though I felt it could be a little repetitive and dragging in parts. I remember in the beginning, Will says something about seeing a row of white SUVs pass down the road, and then Eggers puts in a little pictorial of a row of SUVs right into the text. Is that true, or did I make it up? It really bothered me.

Nihil Novum said...

I was sort of hoping Kelly was dead, to be honest, and it was his ghost writing this review. Since the review made no mention of that, I'll assume it isn't true.

Kelly Wilkinson said...

If I was a ghost, I would definitely be reviewing books, because as far as I know, they don't have to buy food or pay rent, but sadly I'm alive.

And yes, he did put all sorts of weird little graphics in the book. I think the SUVs were an OJ Simpson reference maybe.