But despite all of his insights, I was still hesitant to assign Eggers to my students. I was hesitant to assign his book for the same reasons that the reviewers praised it.
First of all, the book is ironic. Cynical. Self-loathing.
Most reviewers called this sense of irony the book’s energy or force. Though some papers, such as the London Times, stated directly that the book’s “tone” is an “uncommon sort of irony.”
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? Even the title’s ironic. I think Eggers wanted to write a heartbreaking work. But he’s living in the Age of Irony, so he had to take a step back. He had to be self-knowing, to wink at the audience.I’ve spent enough time in graduate school, studying literature, to know that irony is the order of the day. That anyone who wants to be considered intellectual should prefer snark to sincerity — since the latter could be construed as sentimental or, God forbid, corny.