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"And when this book is not winning, attached to it are labels: 'Post' this, or 'meta' that. Oh gosh. Where to start? These are the sort of prefixes used by those without opinions." (34)
So äußerst sich Eggers in dem Nachwort mit der Überschrift "Mistake we knew we were making" über die Vorliebe der heutigen Zeit, alles und jeden in bestimmte Kategorien zu packen. Er bittet die Leser seiner Biographie sich von diesen "meaningless stickers" (ibid.) zu verabschieden und stattdessen: "People, Friends, Please: Trust your Eyes, Trust your Ears, Trust your Art." (ibid.) Es ist dies ein Aufruf an die Leserschaft seiner Lebensgeschichte, sich von eventuellen theoretischen Vorbelastungen frei zu machen und "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" einfach umittelbar auf sich wirken zu lassen. denn: "everyone who actually reads this book, or any book, will understand it." (ibid.)
In A.H.W.O.S.G. beschreibt Dave Eggers den Krebstod seiner beiden Eltern innerhalb von nur 32 Tagen. Er ist zu diesem Zeitpunkt 21 Jahre alt und nun in der Situation, Ersatzvater für seinen neunjährigen Bruder Toph zu sein. Wie er in den kommenden sieben Jahre sein Leben lebt, welche Schwierigkeiten und absurde Situationen ihm begnegen und nicht zuletzt wie er sich bemüht seine eigene Trauer zu überwinden und gleichzeitig versucht, seinem Bruder eine halbwegs "normale" Kindheit zu ermöglichen, ist Thema von Eggers Biographie.
Dabei schafft er, was vor ihm nur wenigen gelungen ist. Deutlich spürt der Leser die Wut, die Trauer, den Hass und die Verzweiflung des Erzählers und dennoch wirkt A.H.W.O.S.G. an keiner Stelle kitschig. An keiner Stelle kommt so etwas wie Selbstmitleid zum Vorschein. Es ist der offene, teils brutal ehrliche, Erfahrungsbericht eines jungen Menschen, der unverschuldet in eine Ausnahmesituation geraten ist, sich aber dennoch seine Liebe zum Leben bewahrt hat.
Auch wenn sich Eggers in seinem Nachwort gegenüber Kategorisierungen wie, zum Beispiel, "postmodern" verwahrt, spielt er im Verlaufe der gesamten Geschichte mit postmodernen Elementen. Zu Beginn gibt er dem Leser diverse Ratschläge, wie er das Buch zu lesen hat, welche Kapitel entscheidend seien und welche man ruhigen Gewissens überspringen könne. Es folgt ein Kapitel über die Hauptthemen und Motive seiner Biographie und zuletzt eine tabellarische Übersicht über die Bedeutung von einigen Symbolen und Metaphern (Sun=Mother; Nosebleed=Decay, zum Beispiel).
Auch während der Geschichte selbst erläutert Eggers immer wieder, warum er dies Ereignis jetzt so dargestellt hat, wie er es dargestellt hat und wie er es auch anders hätte präsentieren können. Für Freunde einer genauen Analyse drängt sich die Einordnung von A.H.W.O.S.G. unter den Oberbegriff postmodern also geradezu auf. Doch er zieht diese Elemente dermaßen durch den Kakao, dass es eigentlich recht schnell klar wird, was Eggers wirklich will und was er dann ja auch im Nachwort deutlich macht: er will die Wahrheit, seine Wahrheit, über sich, sein Leben und seinen Bruder vermitteln. Und diese Wahrheit sei für den Leser, der bereit ist zu verstehen, jenseits aller Kategoresierungswut, zu erreichen.
Fazit: Eggers gehört mir Jonathan Safran Foer zu der neuen Gilde junger amerikanischer Autoren, die uralte menschliche Themen wie Trauer, Leid und Tod auf eine neue, mitreißende Art bearbeiten: ohne Kitsch, ohne ständiges Tränenfließen, ohne Selbstmitleid, sondern, trotz aller Härten und Ungerechtigkeiten, mit einer immer spürbaren Liebe zum Leben.
0Kommentar| 6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 18. September 2000
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed his book. I think growing up in suburban Chicago, going to the University of Illinois, and being the same age really helped me to identify with his voice. I did not know him, nor do I think I would like to, but reading about his life was a trip. Yes, his tale is heartbreaking. And yes, he has his little made-for-tv moments of rising above it all. But his staggering genius lies in the way he captures the angst, ennui, and levity of life of a twenty-something in the 90's much in the same way as Douglas Coupland of Generation X fame.
The narrative of the book, though easy to read, can raise a few questions. It is easy to get caught up in his tale and as a result there are scenes that appear to be missing. Some of the periphery characters' stories do not carry themselves to completion or are resolved but we do not know how or why. This is where the staggering ego comes in.
There are scenes that are truly hilarious, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and scenes that are just plain embarrassing. I suppose that is the price you pay for making your life public. Something that he was mentally prepared to do when he tried out for MTV's Real World. The reader gets a glimpse of a young man forced to take care of his younger brother at 21, find a job, and find his own identity. An interesting journey.
Note: If you are must read the preface and acknowledgements, read them last. Everything makes a little more sense that way.
0Kommentar| 9 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 23. März 2016
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers ist eine schöne Story, zweier Brüder auf Findungsreise. Eggers Schreibstil ist sehr angenehm zu lesen und die Geschicht ist sehr emotional und durchdacht
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am 2. Juni 2000
If ever I come across a book that defies convention, my curiosity gets the better of me and I have to read it. The problem with this tendency is that it usually leads me to a lot of bad books that I refuse to finish. Not this time. Dave Eggers' debut memoir is staggering in its style, innovations, and trials, and simply a lot of fun to read. For months I kept seeing this book eyeing me in bookstores, its corny cover displaying a red velvet drape opening across a Titian-like sky with the "egg" part of the author's name floating over the rising (setting?) sun. One day, I broke down and sent for it and began reading: (page before the title page) "This was uncalled for"; (page before the preface) "Rules and Suggestions for Reading this book: #1. There is no overwhelming need to read the preface...#3. You can skip the table of contents...#6. The book thereafter is uneven..." And then I noticed something: Eggers has written every word--the flap blurbs, the copyright page--and all of it is innovative and entertaining. The table of contents reads like a modern poem, and the 21 page acknowledgement section containing all kinds of slapsticky digressions and a key to the text's metaphors is hysterically funny. With all of the hype and presence this book has inspired, one can't help but read it. Eggers tells the true story of his parents' deaths five months apart which leaves Dave to raise his little brother Toph--the most intriguing character in the tome--and move to Berkeley, California. The best of the book is probably the truest stuff--the first few chapters wherein he discusses his family's losses and the beginning of the Berkeley section and incidental, everyday wonders like recipes he and Toph devise(such as The Saucy Beefeater and The Mexican-American War), frisbee exploits, the teddybear, the mother's lost ashes, nude photo shoots. In spite of his potential, he wanders away to his magazine exploits and some MTV goofiness and more, and it is here that the author's age starts to show-- which is why we must forgive him his lousy handling of the rest of his book. Hey! The guy is only in his twenties and he wrote and published a really innovative book full of literary tricks and flights of imagination. Even though, as the author admits in the beginning, the book just peters out toward the last third, Eggers seems bound for glory, so original, and so wise, really, for such a self-effacing clown. His heart is full of love, and he just can't hide it. That, in addition to his wit, make (almost)this (entire) book worth your while.
0Kommentar| 4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 2. Mai 2000
Dave Eggers breaks a lot of rules in this mostly wonderful book. From the inside front cover flap ("Removed from Chapter 5") through the hysterical transcript of his MTV "Real World" audition, to the Joycean stream-of-consciousness ending, he combines studied pretentiousness with true honor and feeling. It's not always pretty--in fact, it can be brutal, such as the opening description of his mother's horrible death that brought back the smells and agony of my own time sitting beside my father's deathbed. But Eggers has done the right thing--not just by his brother, which was truly important, but by his readers. From our ringside seat we see the chaos, self-loathing, pride, sheer terror, pure joy, and the other conflicting emotions in his life as a twentysomething orphan.
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. April 2016
It came a bit late, but still well done, it did do a long way from Missouri to Berlin (Germany) and snail mail isn't what it used to be and security and all that s**t between the together growing globe. Book's in good condition just as advertised
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am 11. Juni 2000
Oh dear. This is a definite case of too much hype and not enough substance.
While Eggers comes accross as affable enough, he's also too annoyingly arch and egocentric, too aware of his youth and (so-called) beauty and indomitability to be a likeable hero. In a word - he's bigheaded and spends most of the book defending this as his fundamental right.
Some of the writing is good, and the first hundred pages are inspired. His account of his mother's decline and his father's fading away are moving and funny, and very real; if Eggers had maintained that mixture of humour and human appeal, then this would have been a great book. The rules for enjoying the book are clever, and his anarchic approach to how you actually go about starting a book is incredibly funny and refreshing. But as he warns, these are the only good bits - the rest of the book is very, very tedious.
We want to hear about how his brother does, but apart from brief snippets of info which give us clues as to how he is devloping in these unusual circumstances (the marvelous models of Jesus that he makes) Eggers seems to forget the premise of the book (Big brother looks after little brother after parents dies) and ignores Toph woefully to tell us at length about how great it is to be young and free in America. You get the feeling that Toph would have managed to write a much more interesting version of the story. We'd also like to read more about how Dave copes, his emotions and thoughts and feelings, but we just get more banality about his rather boring escapades in publishing and TV which really, I promise are merely the self interested outpourings of a kid who watched too much MTV and not even nearly as interesting as you'd expect.
After making myself finish the book, I felt cheated. I wasn't seriously expecting this to be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, but I did hope that there's be a little more heartbreak, or a little more genius in it than there actually is. Perhaps Eggers found it difficult or unnecessary to write at length about what it is to lose both parents and be left literally holding the baby. He shouldn't have to -there are plenty of other books out there telling painfully real stories of human suffering to make another one superfluous. However, what I really felt disappointed about was that this book promises the reader one thing, and then goes on to deliver something totally and disappointingly different.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
In diesem Buch verarbeitet der Autor den Tod seiner Eltern und erzählt wie er als Zwanzigjähriger seinen kleinen Bruder groß ziehen muss. Das ist ein ernstes Thema - das Eggers aber in einem unheimlich witzigen Stil beschreibt. Es ist lustig, wie er versucht mit allem klar zu kommen und sowohl als Elternteil als auch als jemand, der mal Zwanzigf war, findet man sich wieder. Gleichzeitig ist das Buch natürlich auch traurig, denn den Tod der Eltern ist schon sehr tragisch und so manches Mal bleibt einem das Lachenim Halse stecken.
Trotz ein paar Längen und zwangsläufiger Wiederholungen (das ist ja hier weitestgehend eine reale Geschichte und die verläuft entsprechend wenig actionreich) ein empfehlenswertes Buch!
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am 28. Juli 2000
Having been introduced to David Foster Wallace through his "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," I picked up Eggers based almost solely on the fact that Wallace recommended it so highly in a rather long and complicated blurb on the back of the book. What Wallace felt, I felt completely: that Eggers is both "terrifically talented" and "courageous" in a way that I won't even begin to wrap my head around. Eggers life is so drastically different from mine (both of my parents are still alive and I certainly don't have to care for a younger brother), combined with the fact that I usually don't "dig" on "memoirs" too much, led me to be "suspicious" (such suspicion increased by Eggers own preface, which is the most brilliant metawriting I have ever had the *pleasure* of reading) about how I might be able to "relate" or "understand" or "appreciate" or any other reader/writer interactions that all these years of "schoolin'" have told me I *should* experience. That was stupid on my part. Very. I experienced this epic (I use "epic" like "professional" critics say "inventive") book like I experienced Cathcer in the Rye. On many occassions I'd actually audibly say "Uh" or "Ah," because Eggers so acurately captures how thoughts are processed, and this effect is only heightened by how intensly *honest* he is. I will read everything Eggers ever publishes.
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am 9. Juli 2000
The reviews are mixed, and understandably so. This is a work that refuses to be pigeon-holed and so I'm sure many a reviewer didn't know what to make of the writing.
For me, this was a stroke of genius. The title isn't overblown or off the mark. Eggers has created something like nothing else out there. He's vicariously allowed us into the center of his life and taken us along for the ride - in all its guts'n'glories. I especially enjoyed the preamble - brilliant stuff. One of my fave sections of the book was his dialogue/interview with 'Karen' for his audition for 'The Real World' television show. In that segment, Eggers lays himself bare and is vulnerable to all... and I'm sure endeared many a reader to himself.
Often poignant in all its brutal honesty, often hilarious simply because of his witty and dry perspective on life in general, I enjoyed this book from start to finish.
Though Eggers himself says the book is 'weak' beyond page 100, I have to disagree. He carries us through a real life, and it reads just like real life. Except Eggers makes real life real interesting and engaging.
It's a one-of-a-kind read, and I'm sure there'll be a parade of wannabe bios come along and attempt to copy this book. They won't succeed, of course, because the essence of Eggers is his alone. Excellent stuff and well worth a perusal.
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