May 22, 2023 - News

Author Dave Eggers dishes on new book "The Eyes and the Impossible"

Justin Kaufmann, Jordan Dziura of Illini Media, Daniel Gumbiner of The Believer, Monica Eng and Dave Eggers smile while seated in chairs in a University of Illinois classroom.

Justin Kaufmann, Jordan Dziura of Illini Media, Daniel Gumbiner of The Believer, Monica Eng and Dave Eggers during a chat with University of Illinois students at the Daily Illini last month. Photo courtesy of Daily Illini staff

Chicago native, literacy advocate and celebrated author Dave Eggers has wowed the world with award-winning memoirs, novels, historical accounts and faux textbooks.

What's happening: In his latest all-ages novel, "The Eyes and the Impossible," Eggers writes from the point of view of a dog who watches over a Bay Area park with a bunch of animal pals who can talk to each other — like a Disney movie meets "Animal Farm."

  • We recently asked Eggers about the book and his idea of Chicago fun.

The inspiration: "There's a park in San Francisco called Golden Gate Park, which is a very big and wild park that leads to the Pacific Ocean. In the park, there's an enclosure where a small herd of bison are kept, and I've always felt for them, thinking they might want to be free."

  • "So the book is about a stray dog, in a park like Golden Gate Park, planning to free the bison. It's also about death, God and other child-friendly existential issues."

The aim: "I'm guessing it will answer all of life's questions."

You say that the animals don't represent people but, really? "People aren't really more interesting than dogs and bison and squirrels, are they? Do we have to make everything about us?"

Favorite thing to do in Chicago: "To exercise loudly in crowded public places, wearing a singlet. So I usually try to find the most congested place to do that. Maybe Michigan Avenue during Lollapalooza?"

  • "Afterward I always eat at one of Kevin Boehm's restaurants, because we went to U of I together and sometimes he gives me free food."
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