How the Water Feels to the Fishes

by Dave Eggers

7/10 (Slight, weak middle, stories bleed together)

This is my introduction to Dave Eggers, and it feels like a cross between Sparrow, the “Sunbeams” section from The Sun magazine, and “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.” His prose is captivating: strong, direct, a little staccato. “Electric” would probably be a good adjective for it. The stories themselves aren’t substantive enough to be true short stories, but not short enough to be aphorisms. I’ll call them “vignettes” since I don’t know what else to call them. Who knows, maybe that’s what they technically are.

The second story, “The Accident,” gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes, while the following story, “Old Enough,” had me laughing out loud. It’s a uniquely talented author that can provoke such disparate feelings within just a couple of pages.

I don’t know if it was a case of the novelty wearing off, but the middle section didn’t do much for me. It picked up again toward the end with mostly comical sketches. Eggers definitely has a misanthropic streak and also seems to have a compelling fascination with transformation. I’m definitely curious to check out more of his stuff. My favorite vignettes were the following:

The Accident
Old Enough
The Commercials in Norway
No Safe Harbor
On Making a Good Man by Calling Him a Good Man
Thoughtful That Way
We Can Work It Out
The Anger of Horses
How the Air Feels to Birds
The Man Who

Original Review

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