A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
By Dave Eggers
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375725784, 496pp.)
Publication Date: February 13, 2001
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The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is an instant classic that will be read in paperback for decades to come. The Vintage edition includes a new appendix by the author.
Dave Eggers is the author of four books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, How We Are Hungry, and What Is the What. He is the editor of McSweeney’s, a quarterly magazine and book-publishing company, and is cofounder of 826 Valencia, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers for young people. His interest in oral history led to his 2004 cofounding of Voice of Witness, a nonprofit series of books that use oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. As a journalist, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Believer. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and daughter.
“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, The 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.” —The New York Times Book Review
“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.” —The Washington Post
“[F]unny, wildly intelligent…. What’s consistent throughout is the full-throttle voice: the sensibility of the man who grieves his parents, who safeguards his brother, who knows that his own presence here can walk the line between ‘self-conscious’ and ‘self-devouring.” —The Boston Globe
“Eggers crafts something universal here, something raw and real and wonderful that transcends any zeitgeist and manages to deal trenchantly with ‘big issues’ that often prove too daunting for younger writers: mortality, youth the artifice of writing, the Zen of Frisbee. This is a beautifully ragged, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable book.” —San Francisco Chronicle
"This is a beautifully ragged, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable book."