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December 05 , 2008

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius


‘Heartbreaking? Certainly. Staggering? Yes, I’d say so. And if genius is capturing the universal in a fresh and memorable way, call it that too’ Anthony Quinn, Sunday Times

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‘Is this how all orphans would speak – “I am at once pitiful and monstrous, I know” – if they had Dave Eggers’s prodigious linguistic gifts? For he does write wonderfully, and this is an extremely impressive debut’ John Banville, Irish Times

‘A virtuosic piece of writing, a big, daring, manic-depressive stew of a book that noisily announces the debut of a talented – yes, staggeringly talented – new writer’ – Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

‘Exhilarating . . . Profoundly moving, occasionally angry and often hilarious . . . A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is, finally, a finite book of jest, which is why it succeeds so brilliantly’ – New York Times Book Review

‘What is really shocking and exciting is the book’s sheer rage. AHWOSG is truly ferocious, like any work of genius. Eggers – self-reliant, transcendent, expansive – is Emerson’s ideal Young American. [The book] does itself justice: it is a settling of accounts. And it is almost too good to be believed’ – London Review of Books

‘A hilarious book . . . In it, literary gamesmanship and self-consciousness are trained on life’s most unendurable experience, used to examine a memory too scorching to stare at, as one views an eclipse by projecting sunlight onto paper through a pinhole’ – Time

‘Eggers evokes the terrible beauty of youth like a young Bob Dylan, frothing with furious anger . . . He takes us close, shows us as much as he can bear . . . His book is a comic and moving witness that transcends and transgresses formal boundaries’ – Washington Post

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