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How We Are Hungry is a gripping, lyrical, and intensely soulful group of stories written over the past four years. Though they range from a doomed Irish setter's tales of running and jumping ("After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned") to a bitterly comic meditation on suicide and friendship ("Climbing to the Window, Pretending to Dance"), the stories share a haunting and haunted sense of mortality. Though full of bursts of levity and humor, the book is deeply informed by the troubled times in which it was written. How We Are Hungry includes many never-before-published stories, along with a number of pieces that first appeared in magazines, both well known (Zoetrope, The New Yorker) and small and independent (h2s04, Ninth Letter). All previously published stories have been significantly revised. The urgency and experimentalism of Eggers's earlier work are still present, but are brought to a new level of precision and craft, injecting fresh life into traditional forms. Narratives are often linear, told by distinct and varied voices, and settings stretch from Egypt to Interstate 5.
“These tales reinvigorate that staid old form, the short story, with a jittery sense of adventure. . . . [Eggers] does things that should be impossible, and he does them gracefully.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A tour de force. . . . [Eggers’] prose is supple, transparent and surprising.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The man can simply write extraordinarily well. . . . How We Are Hungry is a triumph of both form and content. . . . Dave Eggers is the real thing.” —The Guardian (London)
“Beautiful stories, anchored in the real world, with more bodies and objects than concepts or abstractions. There is a sense of human exuberance in the clean, swift language. . . . It looks like a classic.” —The Oregonian
“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. . . . Eggers is phenomenally talented—maybe uniquely so.” —The Washington Post
“Full of the raw stuff of lives. The pain and the anger. Emotions that get mixed up and change from one minute to the next. The wonder and the joy. It’s all condensed and crafted, working, that’s what fiction is. But it feels raw, and it’s exhilarating. . . . And that's not even getting into how electrically funny Eggers can be.” —The Globe and Mail
“‘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.” —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)
“One of the many pleasures in reading How We Are Hungry, Eggers’ recent collection of stories, 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
“There’s stunning writing here. Subtle, epigrammatic, candid and thoughtful.” —Herald (London)
“While some story collections forsake the everyday for the exotic, Dave Eggers’ How We Are Hungry finds meaning in the backyards of America as easily as amidst the surf of Costa Rica—with the revelation that sometimes, the heaviest things we carry on a journey are our own thoughts.” —The Philadelphia City Paper
“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
“It’s not surprising that short stories would turn out to be [Eggers’] best fiction milieu. . . . He plays with format and content alike, and the results are as remarkable as they are intrepid.” —The Onion
“[These] stories and sequences . . . move and disturb in unexpected, even shocking ways.” —Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
“If all writing had the sense of moral purpose Eggers displays, the world would be a sharper, livelier place.” —The Journal News