Sunday, 24 February 2013
What is the What - Thoughts so far
What is the What, has so far been fairly enjoyable and easy to understand. I think it does a very good job of giving the war in Sudan a human face. By bringing emotions into the facts to create a story, it makes it a lot easier to digest than reading page after wikipedia page in the pursuit of research.
I feel the main problems with the book lie with its pacing - the modern day sections set in America sometimes seem to add little to the story, which is compounded by the fact that the book is a fairly long 500 pages. You can argue that it's metaphorical, for contrast, et cetera - but either way it's pretty dull.
The scenes in Valentino's past, however, are vivid and often emotional - they really show the horrors of war experienced by the lost boys. I think Eggers has done a great job of trying to get inside Valentino's head and portray it from his perspective.
Overall, it's been enjoyable and thoughtful. I've been behind on occasion, for whatever reason - usually because I didn't have the energy to pick up the book and power through the slow parts. I think if you can ignore the mediocre pacing, there's a great book to be found in it, with a thoughtful take on the Sudanese conflict.