‘The Alaska Of Giants And Gods’ by Dave Eggers

The Alaska Of Giants And Gods by Dave Eggers, 2014

The magic trick:

An amusing scene featuring a series of magicians

We’re off to Alaska this week.

I hate to say it – and really who am I to even say it? – but this story feels like a first draft. Some interesting ideas, a couple of intriguing scenes, glimpses of character development, and of course that always-alluring Alaskan setting. But the pieces never really coalesce.

It feels like the start of a novel that failed to interest the author enough to convince him to continue writing. So it just sort of stops. Here, let’s call it a short story!

Not great.

I did very much enjoy the series of magicians. It’s a quickly paced, funny, confusing, interesting sequence. I particularly will remember the magician who dazzles the audience by seemingly knowing every U.S. zip code’s corresponding location. I liked that.

And that’s quite a trick on Eggers’s part.

The selection:

There was only the rumpled man standing at the edge of the stage. He was telling the audience that he’d worked for some time at a post office, and had memorized most Zip Codes.

He’ll get murdered, Josie thought. What kind of world is this, when a man from the post office follows Luxembourgian magic, and why were they, she and her kids, on this ship in the first place? With incredible clarity she knew, then, that the answer to her life was that at every opportunity she’d made precisely the wrong choice. She had been a dentist for a decade but for most of that time had not wanted to be a dentist. What could she do now?

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