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What is the What

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At the heart of this astonishing, soul-wrenching novel is a true story of courage and endurance in the face of one of the most brutal civil wars in the world. Valentino Achak Deng is just a boy when conflict separates him from his family and forces him to leave his small Sudanese village, joining thousands of other orphans on their long, long walk to Ethiopa, where they find temporary safety.

Along the exhausting journey, Valentino encounters enemy soldiers, liberation rebels and deadly militias, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation. But there are experiences ahead that will test his spirit in even greater ways than these …

Truly epic in scope and told with expansive humanity, deep compassion and unexpected humour, What is the What is an eye-opening account of life amid the madness of war and an unforgettable tale of tragedy and triumph.

Dave Egger is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

By Dave Eggers, in ‘Airport edition’ paperback at 18.50 euros.