What is the What, the latest novel by Dave Eggers, is the novelized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, who witnessed the devastation of his village, Marial Bai, and became one of Sudan's Lost Boys. When he did make it to America, he faced a new set of problems.
Eggers succeeds in writing in a different voice and creating a convincing narrative while describing the unimaginable nightmares these boys faced everyday, such as starvation, wild animals, predatory adults, and disease. They were chased from location to location, they were unaccompanied orphans who staggered and died along the way, the youngest human beings to live on hope and adrenalin.
What is the what? No one knows, but these boys all had to have some faith that they would find their own what, in order to keep moving. Valentino did. It's a sad story and a long one. One of Valentino's earlier monikers was "Gone Far," and though he's still a young man, he has already achieved that.
Even if you're not attracted to any of Dave Eggers's other novels, you might like this one. The subject and style are completely different, the events staggering. It's a memorable read.