Eggers on His Face

Despite the international backdrop, Eggers stages too much of the action within Will's head, a claustrophobic space staffed with a retinue of busybodies who provide running meta-commentary. Will, finding these dialogues as tedious as I do, calls for an end to the internal dissension. "I wanted agreement now. . . . I wanted only truth, as simple as you could serve it, straight down the middle, not the product of dialectic but sui generis: Truth!"


You Shall Know Our Velocity
By Dave Eggers
McSweeney's, 371 pp., $22
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Eggers loves the bombast of Grand Pronouncements like this (especially when punctuated with italics or an exclamation point). His proclamations suggest the thwarted romanticism of someone who'd like to believe in Genius, Beauty, Virtue, etc., but who cannot resist undercutting his own yearnings for conviction and commitment with a knowing smirk. There was a certain freshness to these goofy distancing effects circa A Heartbreaking Work; now it just reads like numb shtick.

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