What is the what : the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng : a novel

by Eggers, Dave.

Format: Print Book 2007.
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 9 copies
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Summary

New York Times Notable Book
New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children --the so-called Lost Boys--was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In Atlanta, too-trusting Valentino Achak Deng opens his door to strangers and is beaten and robbed at gunpoint. Lying on the floor, tied up with telephone cord, he begins silently to tell his life story to one of his captors. Through the rest of his miserable ordeal, he continues these internal monologues: to the indifferent police officer who answers his 911 call; to the jaded functionary at the hospital emergency room; to the affluent patrons at the health club where he works. Deng is a Sudanese Lost Boy, and his story is one of unimaginable suffering. Forced to flee his village by the murahaleen (Muslim militias armed by the government in Khartoum), he survives marathon walks, starvation, disease, soldiers, bandits, land mines, lions, and refugee camps before winning the right to immigrate to the U.S.--a move he sees as nothing short of salvation. Deng is a real person, and this story, told in his voice, is mostly true. Readers may weigh Eggers' right to tell the story or wonder what parts have been changed, but here a novel is the best solution to the problems of memoir. Reworking this powerful tale with both deep feeling and subtlety, Eggers finds humanity and even humor, creating something much greater than a litany of woes or a script for political outrage. What Is the What does what a novel does best, which is to make us understand the deeper truths of another human being's experience. --Keir Graff Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. In this fictionalized memoir, Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) makes him an icon of globalization. Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other "Lost Boys," beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment. Eggers's limpid prose gives Valentino an unaffected, compelling voice and makes his narrative by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical. The result is a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity-of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval. (Oct. 20) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information."

Additional Information
Subjects Deng, Valentino Achak -- Fiction.
Sudanese -- United States -- Fiction.
Refugees -- Sudan -- Fiction.
Refugees -- United States -- Fiction.
Sudan -- History -- Civil War, 1983-2005 -- Fiction.
Sudan -- Emigration and immigration -- Fiction.
United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :Vintage Books,2007.
Edition 1st Vintage Books ed.
Language English
Description xv, 538 pages : map ; 21 cm
ISBN 9780307385901 (pbk.)
0307385906 (pbk.)
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