18 January 2010

what is the what - dave eggers

i put down 'what is the what' by dave eggers after countless hours yesterday at 22.38 precisely. it was quite a relief to have finished it, frankly, and not only because its contained three books and 535 pages make it quite have to hold up in front of you. it was a relief to have finished it, because war is something that just never goes down well with me. 'what is the what' is the extraordinary journey of a young refugee boy called achak from sudan to the united states of america. it describes in great detail his ordeal - things happening to him that most of us can't even begin to imagine. this, i guess, is the reason why in spite of its length, the book rarely bored me. especially the passages where he talks about the UN-run camps and institutions have proven very interesting to someone who is interested in the subject. many times, however, i had to put it away because it was just all too much... so much suffering, so much pain, so much bad luck and yet such strength, resilience and clarity in chaos. 'what is the what' is and adventure story that is very well told and thus certainly recommendable for everyone who enjoys reading biographies or stories with a roller coaster plot line.

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