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Flying from Chicago, these twenty-something, philanthropic Phileas Foggs (Generation Y's Bob and Bing, in fact) hope to start their odyssey in Greenland and finish on the top of Cheops pyramid in Egypt. Of course bad weather, visa regulations, the intransigence of airline authorities and "the unmitigated slowness of moving from place to place" consistently thwart their plans. ("Should we not have teleporting by now?" an exasperated Will asks at one point.) Journeying to Senegal through Morocco and onto Estonia and Latvia, the hapless duo devise increasingly bizarre means to, arbitrarily, hand money to needy locals. They try to pin wads of notes onto goats, over-tip pole dancers, hire cabs for minute distances and create a "real treasure" hunt, replete with map.
There is a curious unreality about how Will and Hand interact with the people they meet. Like Eggers and his younger brother Toph in A Heartbreaking Work, they've retreated into a kind of male adolescent fantasy bubble where the world is a largely a game for their own amusement. The idea of rich yanks dolling out cash willy nilly is, as Eggers is well aware, itself slightly tasteless. The narrative is however, almost mercilessly, metacritical--Will's every worry, doubt, and guilty reflection is taken to its nth degree. Eggers' self-ironising style is as infuriating and as beguiling as ever, but this is a far less tricksy book than his memoir. There are fewer typographical gimmicks and, while it would be impossible ever to describe Eggers' prose as restrained, his writing is less ostentatious here and for that reason all the more impressive. It's simply a quite startling and occasionally tender piece of work, buzzing with annoyingly magnificent sentences, ideas and jokes. --Travis Elborough --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Let me start by saying, that I absolutely love one of Dave Egger's other books, 'A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius' so I was really looking forward to reading this... Read morePublished on 9 May 2008 by Ms. J. Elliott
I found the book to be an enjoyable read. These two men are essentially products of an era where there has been no real conflict or revolution in the world, at least not the world... Read morePublished on 5 Feb. 2008 by Mr. W. D. Black
Will, burdened with a large inheritance, sets off round the world with his friend Hand with the aim of giving it away. Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2007 by Benjamin
This particular piece was unfortunately chosen by our newly formed book club, I have no idea what other reviewers are talking about?...with the exception of messrs z. folkmanis. Read morePublished on 21 July 2006 by Dog lover
it's a book where very little happens very slowly. A psychoanalyst would expect to be paid some kind of money to listen to something so tedious as this - why not just write... Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2005 by Mr. Z. Folkmanis
So few Americans travel well that they're easy game for po-faced Europeans. In truth, few 'sophisticated' Europeans could hope to communicate the joys behind this book. Read morePublished on 26 Dec. 2004 by 2cleverbyhalf
You Shall Know Our Velocity was one of my more literary holiday reads and it's a bit of a road trip by genre: Will's dragging his friend around the world getting rid of a large... Read morePublished on 28 Sept. 2004 by You caught me procrastinating again