Eggers, Dave. What iI the what; the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a novel.

Author:Moore, Patricia
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review
 
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EGGERS, Dave. What is the what; the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a novel. Random House, Vintage. 538p. map. c2006. 978-0-307-38590-1. $15.95. SA

How can an autobiography be a novel whose author is not the subject of the book? When the subject is one of the "lost boys of Sudan" who may not have a perfectly clear memory of his childhood ordeal but who wants to tell his story. Dave Eggers and Valentino Deng spent months in conversation and in e-mail communication in the writing of this book.

Chased from his native Dinka village in southern Sudan by rebel invaders when he was six or seven years old, Deng joined a group of boys who walked across Sudan into Ethiopia, where he spent a decade in refugee camps. Thousands of young boys made this dangerous and painful trip. Many died. Some, like Deng, were eventually brought to the US to a totally...

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