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Who Shall Know Our Velocity: Eggers, Dave (ED) Who Shall Know Our Velocity: Eggers, Dave (ED)

Who Shall Know Our Velocity

Eggers, Dave (ED)

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ISBN 10: 0970335555 / ISBN 13: 9780970335555
Edité par McSweeney's, San Francisco, 2002
Etat : Fine Couverture rigide
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Fine in cloth boards without jacket as issued. First US edition, first printing. Signed by Dave Eggers. N° de réf. du libraire 164

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Détails bibliographiques

Titre : Who Shall Know Our Velocity

Éditeur : McSweeney's, San Francisco

Date d'édition : 2002

Reliure : Hardcover

Etat du livre :Fine

Etat de la jaquette : No Jacket

Signé : Signed by Author(s)

Edition : 1st US

A propos de ce titre

Synopsis :

Book by Eggers Dave



I was talking to Hand, one of my two best friends, the one still alive, and we were planning to leave. At this point there were good days, good weeks, when we pretended that it was acceptable that Jack had lived at all, that his life had been, in its truncated way, complete. This wasn't one of those days. I was pacing and Hand knew I was pacing and knew what it meant. I paced like this when figuring or planning, and rolled my knuckles, and snapped my fingers softly and without rhythm, and walked from the western edge of the apartment, where I would lock and unlock the front door, and then east, to the back deck's glass sliding door, which I opened quickly, thrust my head through and shut again. Hand could hear the quiet roar of the door moving back and forth on its rail, but said nothing. The air was arctic and it was Friday afternoon and I was home, in the new blue flannel pajama pants I wore most days then, indoors or out. A stupid and nervous bird the color of feces fluttered to the feeder over the deck and ate the ugly mixed seeds I'd put in there for no reason and lately regretted -- these birds would die in days and I didn't want to watch their flight or demise. This building warmed itself without regularity or equitable distribution to its corners, and my apartment, on the rear left upper edge, got its heat rarely and in bursts. Jack was twenty-six and died five months before and now Hand and I would leave for a while. I had my ass beaten two weeks ago by three shadows in a storage unit in Oconomowoc -- it had nothing to do with Jack or anything else, really, or maybe it did, maybe it was distantly Jack's fault and immediately Hand's -- and we had to leave for a while. I had scabs on my face and back and a rough pear-shaped bump on the crown of my head and I had this money that had to be disseminated and so Hand and I would leave. My head was a condemned church with a ceiling of bats but I swung from this dark mood to euphoria when I thought about leaving.

"When?" said Hand.

"A week from now," I said.

"The seventeenth?"


"This seventeenth."



"Can you get the week off?"

"I don't know," Hand asked. "Can I ask a dumb question?"


"Why not this summer?"


"Or next fall?"

"Come on."


"I'll pay for it if we go now," I said. I knew Hand would say yes because for five months we hadn't said no. There had been some difficult requests but we hadn't said no.

"And you owe me," I added.

"What? For -- Oh Jesus. Fine."


"For how long again?" he asked.

"How long can you get off?" I asked.

"Probably a week." I knew he would do it. Hand would have quit his job if they refused the time off. He had a decent arrangement now, as a security supervisor on a casino on the river under the Arch, but for a while, in high school, he'd been the Number Two- ranked swimmer in all of Wisconsin, and he expected that kind of glory going forward. He'd never focused again like he'd focused then, and now he was a dabbler, with some experience as a recording engineer, some in car alarms, some in weather futures (true, long story), some as a carpenter -- we'd actually worked on one summer gig together, a porch on an enormous gingerbread-looking place on Lake Geneva -- but he left any job where he wasn't learning or when his dignity, however defined, was anywhere compromised.

"Then a week," I said. "We'll do what we can in a week."

I lived in Chicago, Hand in St. Louis, though we were both from Milwaukee, or just outside. We were born there, three months apart, and our dads bowled together, before mine was gone the first time, before his started playing drums, wearing suspenders and leather vests. We didn't talk about our fathers.

We called the airlines that offered single-fare tickets with unlimited travel. The tickets allowed unrestricted flying as long as you kept going one direction, once around the globe without turning back. You usually have twelve months to complete the circuit, but we'd have to do it in a week. They cost $3,000 each, a number out of the reach of people like us under normal circumstances, in rational times, but I had gotten some money about a year before, in a windfall kind of way, and had been both grateful and constantly confused by it. And now I would get rid of it, or most of it, and believed purging would provide clarity, and that doing this in a quick global flurry would make it . . . I really don't know why we combined these two ideas. We just, blindly and without self-doubt, figured we would go all the way around, once, in a week, starting in Chicago, ideally hitting Saskatchewan first, then Mongolia, then Yemen, then Rwanda, then Madagascar--maybe those last two switched around -- then Siberia, then Greenland, then home. Easy.

"This'll be good," said Hand.

"It will," I said.

"How much are we getting rid of again?"

"I think $38,000."

"Is that including the tickets?"


"So we're actually giving away wha t-- $32,000?"

"Something like that," I said.

"How are you going to bring it? Cash?"

"Traveler's checks."

"And then we give it to who?" he asked.

"I don't know yet. I think it'll be obvious when we get there."

And if we kept traveling west, we'd lose very little time. We could easily make our way around the world in a week, with maybe five stops along the way -- the hours elapsed would in part be voided by the crossing, always westerly, of time zones. From Saskatchewan we'd get to Mongolia, we figured, having lost only two or three hours riding the Arctic Circle. We would oppose the turning of the planet and refuse the setting of the sun.

The itinerary changed on each of the four days we had to decide, on the phone, with me consulting a laminated pocket atlas and Hand in St. Louis with his globe, a huge thing, the size of a beach ball, which spun wildly between poles -- he'd bumped into it one late night and it was no longer smooth -- and which dominated his living room.

So first:

Chicago to Saskatchewan to Mongolia

Mongolia to Qatar

Qatar to Yemen

Yemen to Madagascar

Madagascar to Rwanda

Rwanda to San Francisco to Chicago.

We liked that one. But it was too warm, too concentrated in one latitude. The next one, with adjustments:

Chicago to San Francisco to Mongolia

Mongolia to Yemen

Yemen to Madagascar

Madagascar to Greenland

Greenland to Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan to San Francisco to Chicago.

We'd solved the warmth problem, but went too far the other way. We needed better contrast, more back and forth, more up and down, while always heading west. The third itinerary:

Chicago to San Francisco to Micronesia

Micronesia to Mongolia

Mongolia to Madagascar

Madagascar to Rwanda

Rwanda to Greenland

Greenland to San Francisco to Chicago.

That one had everything. Political intrigue, a climactical buffet. We began, separately at home, plugging the locations into various websites listing fares and timetables.

Hand called.


"We're fucked."

There was something wrong with the timetable. He'd entered in the destinations, but every time we left San Francisco -- we had to stop there en route from Chicago -- we'd end up in Mongolia not a few hours later, but two damned days later.

"How can that be?"

"I figured it out," Hand said.


"You know what it is?"


"I'm going to lay it on you."

"Tell me."


"Fuck yourself."

"The international date line," he said.



"The international date line!"


"Fuck the international date line!" I said.

"Can we do that?" he asked.

"I don't know. How does it work again?"

"Well, New Zealand is the farthest point, time-wise, in the world. They see the new year first. Which means that if we're traveling west from Chicago, we're doing pretty well in terms of saving time all the way until New Zealand. But once we get past there, we're a day ahead. A full day ahead."

"We lose a whole day."

"If we leave Wednesday, we land Friday."

"So it won't help to be going west," I said.

"Not much. Not at all, really."

We called an airline representative. She thought we were assholes. If we wanted to get around the world in a week, she said, we'd be in the air seventy percent of the trip. Even if we followed the sun, we'd still be hemorrhaging hours all over the Pacific.

"We have to go east," said Hand.

"Maybe we go east, then west," I said.

"We can't. We have to keep going the same direction to get the fare."

The next itinerary:

Chicago to New York to Greenland

Greenland to Rwanda


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