Dave Eggers' staggering genius come to Akron

If you've ever read Dave Eggers, author of such notable will-be-classics as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity, you might think him little more than a nostalgic slacker — the archetype of a generation drowning in snarky self-reference. But what slacker builds a literary empire that includes a publishing house, a website, a monthly magazine, a quarterly DVD magazine, and several stores and tutoring centers? Over the years, Eggers has made a name for himself, thanks to a more-absurd-than-thou combination of hyperbole and self-aware innocence — a style that barely-30 hipster geeks have come to embrace as their language. But Eggers appears to be growing up and out of himself, lending his greatly praised stylings to stories about people who have little to do with self-absorbed American irony — namely that of Valentina Achak Deng, a Sudanese lost boy. Eggers and Deng are currently touring the country to promote Eggers' latest book What is the What, Deng's horrific life's story as told to Eggers, who then creatively transcribed it into a breathtaking mixture of fact and fiction that succinctly conveys the horror and humanity of Deng's world. The two will be stopping by the Akron Main Library on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. to discuss the new novel. Until then, you can click here to read an excerpt of the book and listen to them talk about it on NPR's All Things Considered. — Denise Grollmus
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