I am studying to be a librarian, so it should come as no surprise that I have a personal catalog of all the books I own (in a program called Airtable, which I love, let me know if you need help with Airtable – I got you). So, when I decided to write this post, I immediately opened up my catalog to figure out which of my favorite books I was going to review. Under the “fiction” filter, I saw a top-three book with the title that I always mix up: “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?” by Dave Eggers. You probably know Dave Eggers best for “The Circle,” a dystopian novel that was turned into a movie with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in 2017. He is a fairly well-known author who has churned out more pages of published content than I have probably read in the past few years.
“Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?” calls out American capitalism and individualism in a purposefully, thinly-veiled attempt at more literature than essay. The novel is entirely dialogue, forcing readers to consider words only, instead of setting, prose, etc. Truthfully, it is a grown-up’s version of “Catcher in the Rye.” I first read this book when I was sixteen, right when it came out. With that age being the peak of my uninformed, anti-establishment, “f*ck the American imperialist system” feelings, it spoke to my anger in a way that other books hadn’t before. Perhaps this book is too on the nose, perhaps it should have been a blunt, in-your-face essay, but I read it exactly when I needed to and I think that is why it stays with me.