You Shall Know Our Velocity

You Shall Know Our Velocity

By (author) Dave Eggers


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You Shall Know Our Velocity is a compelling and thought-provoking novel by award-winning Dave Eggers. Will and Hand are burdened by $38,000 and the memory of their friend Jack. Taking a week out of their lives, they decide to travel around the world to give the money away. They can't really say why they're doing it, just that it needs to be done. Perhaps it's something to do with Jack's death - perhaps they'll find the reason later. But as their plans are frustrated, twisted and altered at every step and the natives prove far from grateful to their benefactors, Will and Hand find that the world is an infinitely bigger, more surreal and exhilarating place than they ever realised. In fact, it's somewhere to get lost in..."Dave Eggers has become J. D. Salinger, Ken Kesey and Jack Kerouac rolled into one." (The Times). "Endearing, funny...the prose is high on energy and Eggers' talents make it worth the trip." (Guardian).

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  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 26mm | 322.05g
  • 01 Mar 2008
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 0141013451
  • 9780141013459
  • 59,452

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Author Information

Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including his recent trilogy: The Circle, A Hologram for the King, (2012 National Book Award finalist), and Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? He is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco producing books as well as a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) and a monthly magazine (The Believer). McSweeney's also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Dave Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of tutoring centres around the country, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization promoting greater college access. He lives in Northern California with his family.

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Review quote

"Headlong, heartsick and footsore....Frisbee sentences that sail, spin, hover, circle and come back to the reader like gifts of gravity and grace....Nobody writes better than Dave Eggers about young men who aspire to be, at the same time, authentic and sincere." -- "The New York Times Book Review "You Shall Know Our Velocity! is the work of a wildly talented writer... Like Kerouac's book, Eggers's could inspire a generation as much as it documents it." -- "LA Weekly "There's an echolet of James Joyce there and something of Saul Bellow's Chinatown bounce, but we're carried into the narrative by a fluidity of line that is Eggers's own." -- "Entertainment Weekly "Eggers is a wonderful writer, bold and inventive, with the technique of a magic realist." --" Salon "An entertaining and profoundly original tale." -- "San Francisco Chronicle "Eggers 's writing really takes off -- his forte is the messy, funny tirade, stuffed with convincing pain and wry observations." -- "Newsday "Often rousing ...achieves a kind of anguished, profane poetry." -- "Newsweek "The bottom line that matters is this: Eggers has written a terrific novel, an entertaining and imaginative tale." -- "The Boston Globe "There are some wonderful set-pieces here, and memorable phrases tossed on the ground like unwanted pennies from the guy who runs the mint." -- "The Washington Post Book World "Powerful.... Eggers's strengths as a writer are real: his funny pitch-perfect dialog; the way his prose delicately captures the bumblebee blundering of Will's thoughts; ... and the stream-water clarity of his descriptions.... There is genius here.... Who is doing more, single-handedly andsingle-mindedly, for American writing?" -- "Time

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Review text

Back in 1999, an exciting new young writer stormed up the American bestseller lists with his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers quickly became established as a cult literary figure, with all the attendant characteristics - quirkiness, a desire for solitude and, naturally, a marked reluctance to give interviews. His first foray into fiction recounts the adventures of two young American boys who decide to travel round the world in a week, giving away large sums of money on the way. Part road story, part philosophical analysis of the minefield that is charitable giving, the result is highly original and moves at an almost manic pace as Will and Hand frantically try to achieve their ambition of traversing the globe in a week. The catalyst for all this frenetic energy is the death of their childhood friend, Jack, in a car accident. Will has also come into a vast sum of money from modelling for a light-bulb company, and overcome by grief and guilt at Jack's death, he resolves to give all his effortlessly earned income away to the needy. Will and Hand abandon their early attempts at an itinerary as time and again they are frustrated by aeroplane timetables and visa requirements, eventually beginning their madcap tour in Senegal before moving on to Morocco and Estonia. Are the two boys embarking on this mission of mercy to salve their own consciences? Will spends much of the book inside his own head, reliving the horrors of Jack's death and his own subsequent beating at the hands of a gang of thugs as well as wrestling with the problem of how to decide who should receive his money. The arbitrariness of his choices seems to depend on the personality of the recipient - there are fistfuls of cash for Denis who supports the Chicago Bulls but nothing for his obnoxious brother Pierre. Hand lives up to his name as he turns out to be the practical one of the pair, more in tune with his physical needs for sleep, food, warmth and sex, and more pragmatic about the way they are going to actually hand over their largesse, whether by taping it to a Senegalese donkey, handing it to prostitutes or burying it in an Estonian forest. But in the end it is up to the reader to take what he wants from Eggers's multi-layered novel. Is it ultimately about Eggers himself and the way he has dealt with his unexpected celebrity, or is it simply the tale of two confused, unhappy youngsters trying to do good in a world where being charitable is not as easy as at first appears? (Kirkus UK)

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Flap copy

In his first novel, Dave Eggers has written a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss. It reminds us once again what an important, necessary talent Dave Eggers is.

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