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You Shall Know Our Velocity

Author: Dave Eggers
Year: 2002
Pages: 353
Amazon: You Shall Know Our Velocity

You Shall Know Our Velocity is the first novel from Dave Eggers. Most people know him as the writer of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, his amazing and touching life story.

Y.S.K.O.V. is about Will (narrator) and his best friend Hand. Will has thirty eight grand that he wants to get off his hands and believes a one week trip around the world with Hand would be the perfect antidote to solve all his problems. Those problems are Will trying to overcome the death of his other best friend and to recover from an ass-beating he received a few weeks prior. Will's badly bruised and scabbed body and face probably symbolize his emotional and mental anguish.

The plot of the story takes effect as the narrator swiftly and roughly recounts their travels. Will and Hand go from Africa to Asia, to Eastern Europe without much direction. Along the way they hope to give away thousands of dollars but they aren't exactly sure the best way to disperse of it. Will and Hand aren't exactly sure about much.

My favorite part of the novel is when Hand shares a conversation he had with a traveler he met in Africa. The story is about a tribe in South America that believes they can learn to fly. The story also sheds light on the title of this novel. It's one of those insignificant passages within a book that makes reading feel great.

Litty’s Take

I think Y.S.K.O.V. is a tale of friendship. Or it might be about life and death. Or it might be about one's journey through life and search for meaning. I'm not really sure and I don't think the main characters of this book are either.

Eggers is at his best when he articulates the raw emotion and thoughts of himself and his characters. His magic is in making sense of the things that go through your head that don't really make sense. He has an innate sense of the stuff that people are too afraid, or pre-occupied or maybe even oblivious to face themselves. He was brilliant at this in AHWSG and he shows the talent at times in this story as well.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. Eggers writing style is unique and meaningful. I wanted more from the characters and more from Eggers. I think he gave the right amount though and I've already bought my next Eggers book, What is the What.

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