Man kan finde masser af ting at bebrejde eller kritisere den her bog for. Den er lidt ustram i strukturen, finder måske aldrig helt en gennemgående tone og kan virke som en række scener mere end en lang historne.
Til gengæld er den fuld af charme, gennemgående sjov og sine steder hysterisk morsom, finurlig, veloplagt og ikke mindst bare umiskendelig Dave Eggers. Og ham kan jeg jo altså godt lide.
Historien er simpel: Will har 80.000 dollars, han ikke vil eje. Og hans bedste ven Jack er lige død. Så han tager sin anden ven, Hand (!), med på en ugelang tur rundt i verden, hvor de skal give Wills penge væk til de lokale.
Rejsen bliver ikke, som de regner med. Det er svært at komme af med pengene på den rigtige måde. Det er svært bare at rejse rundt uden hverken planer eller visaer. Det er svært at blive enige om projektet og komme overens med Jacks død.
Det er sådan set tragisk. Men det er også vittigt, spækket med sjove optrin (som kun Eggers kan beskrive dem) og inspirerende møder og fine karakterer. Ikke mindst er Wills sidekick, Hand, en sjov fætter, der på mange måder er yin til Wills yang. Will er trist, tvivlende, søgende, alvorlig. Hand er udadvendt, plat, goofy og et omvandrende leksikon af ubrugelig viden. På mange måder er der noget af Eggers selv over Will, mens Hand så er hans dialogpartner og samtidig en konstant comic relief. Det virker rigtigt fint. Og de to finder på nogle ret sjove måder at give penge væk på!
Will er fortælleren. Og hans tanker flyver på bedste Eggers’ske facon:
There was a rocky sort of path sloping right and after taking off our shoes in case we landed somehow in the moat, we descended, sliding and jumping, and soon found ourselves jogging slightly, as if descending stairs in a hurry. The path was now dotted with large flat rocks, like overturned dinner plates, and we were jumping from rock to rock, and doing so at a speed that I should have found alarming but somehow didn’t, and we were barefoot, which might have increased the alarm but instead made it easier, because the rocks were smooth, and cool, and my bare feet would land on the rock and kind of wrap around it, simian-like, in a way that a shoe or sneaker or sandal couldn’t. I swear my toes were grabbing for me, and that my skin was attaching to the rock surface in a way that only meant collusion between natural things – in this case, feet and smooth green-grey rocks. There was no time to think, which was plenty of time – I had a few fractions of a second in mid-air, between rocks, to calculate the location of the next rock-landing options, the stability of each, the flattest surface among them. My brain and legs and feet all working at top speed, at the height of their respective games – it was thrilling and I was proud for them, for us. I had the thought, while running, without breaking stride, that I would like to be doing this forever, that thought occurring while I almost landed on a very sharp rock but adjusted quickly enough to avoid it in favor of a nearby and more rounded rock, and while I was congratulating myself on having made such a perfect rock-landing choice, I was also rethinking my thought about jumping on rocks forever, because that would probably not be all that fun after a while, involving as it did a certain amount of stress, probably too much – and then, I thought, how odd it was to be thinking about running forever along the rounded gray rocks of this corner of Senegal – was this Popenguine? Mbour? – while I was in fact running along them, and how strange it was that not only could I be calculating the placement of my feet in midrun, but also be thinking of my future as a career or eternal rock-runner, and noting the thinking about that at the same time. Then the rocks ended and the sand began and I jumped into the sand with a shhhht and my feet were thankful and I stood, watching the water and waiting for Hand.
Alt i alt er bogen lidt rodet. Ikke det stærkeste Eggers, jeg har læst. Men stadig ret godt.