LEWISTON — The Lewiston Public Library is partnering with the Machiah Center and the Maine Humanities Council to host a discussion on the book, “What is the What,” by Dave Eggers.

Registration is required for the free public event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 16.

“What is the What” is a novel Eggers wrote to capture the voice and the life story of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee from the Sudanese civil war of the 1980s and 1990s. The story, written in the form of an autobiography, relates Deng’s struggles to survive as one of “The Lost Boys” of southern Sudan.

In the book, Valentino tells about his separation from his family when Arab militia destroy his village and his long march to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where he pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America only to continue encountering challenges which, in many ways, prove to be more difficult than those in Africa.

“The narrative is by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. They go on to describe the work as “a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity — of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval.

The April 16 discussion program will be facilitated by Elizabeth Eames, professor of anthropology at Bates College. Registration is being taken and multiple copies of the book are available for borrowing.

To register, contact the Lewiston Public Library circulation desk at 513-3134 or via email at [email protected]


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