I’ve always been kind of intimidated by Dave Eggers. Really long books, or books with heavy subject matter sometimes do that. But I finally got brave and decided to read this latest book Your Fathers, Where are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? It was seriously out there – but I liked it! And because I read everything, I believe it’s hard to really shock me, but I was still a little shocked. Thomas is a disturbed individual, and throughout the story kidnaps several people, and has them all housed in an abandoned military base along the California coastline. Throughout the book he tries to explain and justify his actions, albeit unsuccessfully.
Kevin, one of his former college classmates is the first to be kidnapped:
“You’ve got me chained to a post.
Still. What I did to you was methodical and nonviolent. It was a means to an end. I wanted to talk to you, and you haven’t answered my letters, so I didn’t think I had a choice. I really do apologize for having to do it this way. I’ve been in a strange place lately. I was getting these migraines, I couldn’t sleep. Holy shit, the pressure! The questions were piling up and were strangling me at night. Have you ever had that, where you’re lying there, and the questions are just these asps wrapping themselves around your throat?”
He needs questions answered, questions that haunt him, and won’t let him live in peace. In order to get these questions answers he kidnaps 6 people, Kevin included. These are the same questions probably have been asked before, flaws in society, things I know I’ve wondered myself. He couldn’t understand why the space program lost funding, and why Kev, who had worked his whole life and had done everything right, made it through the space program, and couldn’t by an astronaut. From there the story evolves, or devolves.
His next victim is a congressman and Vietnam War vet, who through a little research was found to have voted against the funding of the space program. He also kidnaps an old teacher, one that had once been accused of molesting students, a cop one who had been involved in the shooting of a former friend of his, and even his Mom.
I was really surprised by this book – in a good way. Eggers never seems to portray Thomas in a negative light, even after having kidnapped 6 people. Instead, his actions seemed justified, and oddly, I’m ok with that. Although it took me a while to get through the book, I liked it. It’s not exactly “new”, but was recently released in paperback.