reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review # 45 What is the What by Dave Eggers

Listening to the news about South Sudan, I can’t help but think of the author of this book and what may be happening to him today.  What is the What was written about 7 years ago.  It is the biography of Valentino Achak Deng, a “lost boy” of Sudan.  It is characterized as a novel because Deng cannot remember all of the details and all of the conversations going back to when he was 7 years old.

The book is told in the first person and begins in Deng’s Atlanta apartment that he shares with another Sudanese. A man and a woman con him into opening the door, beat him, tie him up and rob him.  As he lies there, he begins to tell of his childhood in Marial Bai. He has experienced things much worse than robbery, yet the fact that this is happening in the country in which he sought asylum and safety is jarring.

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