(US, 1970– )
Eggers calls his first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), fiction, but acknowledges from the start that it is based on real characters and events. It tells of the death of both his parents, within a month of each other, while he was 21 and his younger brother Toph was 7, and of his and Toph's life afterwards. From this tragic subject matter Eggers spins an extremely funny and moving book, via a narrative voice that is unsentimental, matter-of-fact, hypersensitive to the ludicrous hypocrisy of much behaviour surrounding death, full of wonder and curiosity, and at the same time energetic, angry, blown away. Eggers launched a literary magazine, McSweeney's, in 1998, and has published some of his own short fiction here; one of his best stories, ‘Up the mountain coming down slowly’ is contained in The Best of McSweeney's Vol 1, ed. D. Eggers (2004). His second novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity (2003), is a hilarious and moving account of a road trip during which the narrator comes to terms with a recent bereavement, whilst trying to give away $30,000 to complete strangers that he meets as he travels around the world.
Jonathan Franzen, Zadie Smith, J. D. Salinger JR