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What Is the What : The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
by Dave Eggers


Overview -

New York Times Notable Book
New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children --the so-called Lost Boys--was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom.  Read more...


 
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Overview

New York Times Notable Book
New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children --the so-called Lost Boys--was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307385901
  • ISBN-10: 0307385906
  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA
  • Publish Date: October 2007
  • Page Count: 538
  • Dimensions: 8.12 x 5.26 x 0.95 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.86 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

What Is the What

Valentino Achak Deng, a native of Sudan, narrates this memoir-novel hybrid. During the 1980s and '90s, the civil war and related religious conflict in Valentino's home country displaced him and thousands of other young men, earning them the name the Lost Boys. In this straightforward and simply told narrative, Valentino recounts the destruction of his village, the disappearance of his parents and his years in a hellish refugee camp in Ethiopia. In 2001, he leaves Africa for the United States, arriving in Atlanta. But the city is far from welcoming. Jobs are scarce, and dangerous gangs roam the streets. Valentino's day-to-day life in Atlanta—he is robbed and beaten in his own home—proves to be all too similar to his existence in Africa. A fascinating mix of politics, international history and Valentino's personal narrative, What Is the What is a remarkable book that sheds valuable light on the refugee experience. Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, has produced another original, memorable narrative. This is a richly rewarding book—an unforgettable story about one man's attempt to live with loss, adjust to a new culture, and find a way to move forward into the future.

A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.readinggroupcenter.com.

 
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