Thinking Aloud: “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?”

Nov. 7, 2014 by Darius 

I read Dave Egger’s very original book Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? today.  It’s one of those books that is either very creative or nonsensical, depending on how you look at it.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? has an unusual structure: the entire book is dialogue, much like a play.  It’s even up to the reader to keep track of who is talking in any given line.  The book’s plot is equally unconventional: a man named Thomas, who is quite probably mentally ill, decides he wants some questions answered about the world and his own past.  So he abducts a succession of people to answer his questions, starting with a TA from college who later became an astronaut (with whom he wants to talk about the defunding of the Space Shuttle).  As the book progresses, it becomes clear that Thomas’s search is very personal indeed.

As far as I could tell, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? is something of a parable, or maybe a satire, of the phenomenon of young men struggling to find a way and a place for themselves in the world.  The book also has its funny moments, though it isn’t really a comedy.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? was quite unlike any book I had read before.  If you’re looking for a standard plot arc, character development, and a nice tidy end, keep looking.  This is not the book for you.  If you’re looking for something different, and possibly thought-provoking, then Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? just might be the right book for you.

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