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How We Are Hungry: Storiesby Dave Eggers
"Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a memoir full of practiced idiosyncrasy and contrived candor, revealed nothing so much as the author's X-rated affection for the sound of his own voice. His latest effort, the story collection How We Are Hungry (McSweeney's), is a far more temperate, generally melancholic affair. But in it a certain voice keeps popping up oddly: that of the irrepressibly manic memoirist." Jon Zobenica, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Synopses & Reviews
Eggers presents his first collection of short stories. The characters are roaming, searching, and often struggling, and revelations do not always arrive on schedule. Precisely crafted and boldly experimental, How We Are Hungry simultaneously embraces and expands the boundaries of the short story.
"[T]hese tales reinvigorate that staid old form, the short story, with a jittery sense of adventure....Eggers' prose is fun, even when he is twisting a knife in your heart....He does things that should be impossible, and he does them gracefully." San Francisco Chronicle
"The 15 stories in Dave Eggers' handsome new collection...range from droll, plotless two-page stunts to long, haunting character-driven narratives. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Eggers is most compelling when he's darting out on a stylistic limb....In his short work, he plays with format and content alike, and the results are as remarkable as they are intrepid." The Onion
"It's [the] tension between our base and noble impulses, our so-called animal and refined natures, that gives How We Are Hungry its momentum and imparts to the best of its stories a rare and welcome grace." The Washington Post Book World
"[A] lot of How We Are Hungry makes you wonder if [Eggers's] heart is still entirely in his writing....When he dispenses with tongue-in-cheekiness and cute experimentalism, his prose is supple, transparent and surprising..." A. O. Scott, The New York Times
"It's entertaining, and carries the reader along on a rush of story....One may not be able to reliably judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the cover is right. This one is rare-looking, and rich and important-looking. It looks like a classic." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"One of the many pleasures in reading How We Are Hungry...is that it reminds you of his abilities as a writer. He can dazzle...he can move effortlessly between classic storytelling and the more experimental." Salon.com
"A return to creative form....As always, Eggers finds his place between outrageous humor and disastrous sadness....[His stories] don't quit resonating until long after the last sentence is finished." Newcity Chicago
"Its potential for inspiration and discussion, not to mention the nifty packaging, make How We Are Hungry a perfect book for a resolution-making time of year." The Philadelphia City Paper
"'After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned' is a small tour de force that ratifies [Eggers's] ability to write about anything with style and vigor and genuine emotion." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"['Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly' is] a masterpiece...the narration is magisterial, without a false note....It may well be the last great twentieth-century short story." The Observer (London)
"There's stunning writing here. Subtle, epigrammatic, candid and thoughtful." Herald (London)
How We Are Hungry collects 15 short stories written over the past four years. Many of the stories have been published before, and many are new. "The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water," originally published in Zoetrope: All-Story, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Fiction and was included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2004. Two of the stories in this collection — "Measuring the Jump" (now retitled) and "The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water" — were recently named "Notables" in The Best American Short Stories 2004, edited by Lorrie Moore.
"What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust"
"The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water"
"On Wanting to Have Three Walls Up Before She Gets Home"
"Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance"
"She Waits, Seething, Blooming"
"Your Mother and I"
"Notes for a Story of a Man Who Will Not Die Alone"
"About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her"
"Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly"
"After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned"
About the Author
Dave Eggers and his wife live in Northern California. He edits a magazine, McSweeney's (www.mcsweeneys.net), and teaches at 826 Valencia in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
What it means when a crowd in a faraway nation takes a soldier representing your own nation, shoots him, drags him from his vehicle and then mutilates him in the dust 17
The only meaning of the oil-wet water 19
On wanting to have three walls up before she gets home 55
Climbing to the window, pretending to dance 57
She waits, seething, blooming 83
Your mother and I 115
Notes for a story of a man who will not die alone 127
About the man who began flying after meeting her 139
Up the mountain coming down slowly 141
There are some things he should keep to himself 201
When they learned to yelp 207
After I was thrown in the river and before I drowned 211
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