DRAFT Book Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Stagger…

DRAFT Book Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

What is postmoderism

– culture of self-reference and reference not to reality but to references (which may be to reality)

– an awareness of that self-reference

– struggle of a generations of rich kids

– struggle to define self with a wealth of opportunity vs dearth of opportunity as one would struggle against nature or poverty

Reference to the way this article was written

– transparancy

– outline, intuition first

review other reviews

– missing the point of reference to the self-reference, eggers deflated arguments that peg him as an egotist by admitting that his technique will show him to be an egotist

– others miss that the tragedy is not the story, the story is of him writing that he knows the tragedy is a story and his struggle to get over the postmodern delima

– some claim that he has a sick sense of humor. hi, missing the point. in the book, your witnessing how he reacted as a human. and if you’ve had someone close to you die, you know what i mean. you have a mix of fealings swimming in your head at once. it is impossible to write or to speak of these feelings but since writing began we’ve tried to. eggars is getting us closer to the truth by breaking the taboo that these critics don’t want to pearce. they want eggars to be “sad”, to say things that have been said before. “I love my mother, she was really great, I’ll never say anything bad about her or make light of her death, she means that much to me.” Well, that’s not reality. In reality when someone close to you dies you think great thoughts, thoughts that you before thought only available to geniuses or maybe greek gods up on olympus. You also think horrible, unthinkable, thoughts. And the problem is that neither of these extermes desires the as many words I have given them because these thoughts aren’t really thoughts but flashes of emotion and snippets of ideas.

The point is that the boohooing you normally hear is really a characture and his character is written to show what was reality. His character is him, but much less of a character than ever seen before in a book. In any case, irreverence is being miswrought to mean uncaring, but it is the authors ultimate symbol of caring because he has exposed this unexpected reaction when to do so would be taboo. Why break a taboo unless your making a point? Why make the point that you’re uncaring about your parents’ death? He must be making the point that he cared and he is showing us how he cared.

So it is obvious that none of the critics got it right. For that matter, none of Eggers most enthusiastic votaries were close either. The self-reference is meant to get you closer to the actual events, the cultural references were meant to anchor the reader in today’s reality to built his story against the current environment and the humor is

Share doubt as to the self-reference

– can you ever speak of the truth when you’re referencing references

– a law of inverse squares… with each layer of reference you get a more diffuse picture

– but is self-reference a technic rather than a fact… is this meta-self-reference?

Doubt postmoderism

– the intuition is real, the observations are real, the references are real

– pre-post-modern (modern) folk made reference to the thinking and ideas before them as they did before them and so on

– what is real? eggers reminds us that death is real and the struggle to understand it our come to grips with it is real


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