The Sunday Magazine·The Sunday Edition

Dave Eggers on the joy and danger of going off the grid

With his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers burst on to the literary scene as a passionate, playful, inventive young writer. He has since established himself as one of the most prolific and decorated writers working today. His new novel, Heroes of the Frontier, seems perfectly timed for an American election year in which the U.S. appears seriously on edge and fraying at the seams: The story of a young family fleeing natural disasters, disappointed hopes and the maddening complications of contemporary life.
( Headshot: Michelle Quint 2010)

By the time Dave Eggers's new novel Heroes of the Frontier begins, its protagonist Josie has been dealt a series of blows, and her world is closing in on her. With her two young children in tow, she runs away to Alaska in search of a purer life, away from lawsuits and a failed marriage and the realization that the life she wanted is the not the life she has. 

As they head north, her family is chased by wildfires and dangers both real and imagined as Josie grapples with how to create a life of courage and integrity for herself and her children. 

The thing that as parents we don't necessarily seek out, or try to engender, in the same way that maybe we used to is bravery and courage in a child. And I think it's not even in anyone's vocabulary right now. We are so careful. We love our children so much, so it comes from a good place, that we want them to be safe. But they do need to experiment with the world.- Dave Eggers

Heroes of the Frontier is the seventh novel Dave Eggers has published since he became a literary star in 2000 with the publication of his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

He spoke to guest host Rachel Giese about how children and adults can reclaim a sense of adventure and exploration in lives that often feel dictated by screens, deadlines and obligations, and shared his impressions from a Donald Trump rally he attended earlier in the summer

Click the button above to hear Rachel Giese's conversation with Dave Eggers. 


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