What is the What, by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's; 2006) – In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Dave Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life story as he is driven from his childhood home as a young boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia, where he finds safety—for a time. Valentino's travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, Janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation—and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the arrival of the new millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where What is the What is narrated. In this book, written with expansive humanity and surprising humor, we come to understand the nature of the conflicts in Sudan, the refugee experience in America, the dreams of the Dinka people, and the challenges faced by one indomitable man in a world collapsing around him.