Written By: Dave Eggers

Narrated By: Dion Graham

Date: October 2007

Duration: 20 hours 32 minutes


In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Dave Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life as he's driven from his home as a boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia, where he finds safety-for a time. Valentino's travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, Janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation-and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where this novel is narrated.
In this book, written with expansive humanity and surprising humor, we come to understand the nature of the conflicts in Sudan, the refugee experience in America, the dreams of the Dinka people, and the challenge one indomitable man faces in a world collapsing around him.


  • Anonymous

    Dion Graham does a terrific job. His voice conveys such joy and hope despite his character's significant struggles. I was a wonderful experience listening to this well-written and beautifully read book.

  • Peggy Stortz

    This story of a Sudan refugee is riveting. Eggers is a superb author and the reader could not be better. It will keep you on the edge of your car seat!

  • MLE

    The story is stunning, of course; how people survive things like this with their spirits intact amazes me. But most of all, I want to praise the reader, who manages several accents fluently & reads with such inflection that one could forget he was reading.

  • Dr. X

    I give this book five stars because it presents the horror of the events it describes in a personal fashion. It is a rich reflection of humanity and inhumanity. For example; is the execution in Sudan more inhuman than the United States emergency room that ignored the mugging victim? This fictional account is a primer on the war in Sudan and the plight of refugees, not only in Sudan but in any of the camps that go on from year to year. It can open the eyes to the issues faced by refugees who have come to the United States. As a Christian clergy I am pleased with the way faith is included in the story, from unbelief, from religious relief organizations and refugee settlement, from baptism, to a simple confession of trust in God. This touch of religion is lightly done, and rightly done. This light touch includes Christianity and Islam. The lions and crocodiles are more sensational than religion. I enjoyed the narration, the voices, the inflection.

What is the What

by Dave Eggers

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What is the What, Dave Eggers
What is the What, Dave Eggers
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