03.11.2019

Author Dave Eggers on his New Book, “The Parade”

Renowned novelist Dave Eggers has gained a reputation for chronicling the most important societal upheavals of our time. He joins the program to discuss his new book “The Parade,” which asks what happens when foreigners drop into work and help in developing countries ravaged by war.

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LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR LATEST BOOK, AND IT'S ACTUALLY A CONTINUATION OF SOME OF THE BOOKS YOU HAVE WRITTEN, LOOKS LIKE AN EXPLORATION AROUND THE WORLD.

THIS ONE IS INTERESTING, SHORLT, BUT IT'S ABOUT -- SHORT, BUT IT'S ABOUT TWO CONTRACTORS WHO ARE BUILDING ROADS TO CONNECT RURAL SOUTH TO NORTH AFTER A WAR, AND THERE'S MEANT TO BE A PARADE TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF THIS ROAD BUT IT DOESN'T ALL GO TO PLAN.

GIVE US THE SORT OF BONES OF THE STORY WITHOUT BEING A SPOILER.

WELL, THESE ARE TWO WORKERS.

THEY'RE JUST PAVERS.

THEY'RE CONTRACTORS THAT ARE DOING THE WORK AS THE SAME WAY THEY WOULD ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

THEY DROP IN WITHOUT PASSPORTS, WITHOUT KNOWN IDENTITIES AND THEY ARE THERE TO DO A JOB BUT THEY TAKE DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT VIEWS ON THEIR WORK, AND THEY APPROACH IT DIFFERENTLY.

ONE JUST WANTS TO DO THE WORK AND GO HOME AND GET THE JOB DONE, AND HE'S A VETERAN OF THIS KIND OF WORK, AND THE OTHER SEES IT AS AN ADVENTURE AND AN INVITATION TO ENGAGE IN THE LOCAL CULTURE, BUT BOTH ARE FRAUGHT AND HAVE THEIR OWN COMPLICATIONS.

INTERESTINGLY, YOU DON'T NAME THEM.

CERTAINLY YOU DON'T NAME WHAT COUNTRY THEY COME FROM, BUT YOU DON'T ACTUALLY GIVE THEM NAMES.

THEY'RE CALLED NINE AND FOUR.

YOU KNOW, I WANTED THEM TO BE NAMELESS AND COUNTRILESS BECAUSE I THINK AT LEAST HERE IN THE U.S. WE ASSUME THAT CHARACTERS LIKE THIS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF AMERICAN ADVENTURES OR INTERVENTIONS ABROAD, AND THIS KIND OF WORK IS NOT AT ALL EXCLUSIVE TO THE U.S., IN PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW, ALL OVER THE WORLD AND IN PARTICULAR, IN AFRICA, THE CHINESE ARE DOING ALL KINDS OF ROAD BUILDING, PORT BUILDING, RAILWAY BUILDING, AND SO, YOU KNOW, YEARS AGO IN SOUTH SUDAN, I SAW A SWEDISH TEAM BUILDING A ROAD IN RURAL SOUTH SUDAN, AND I WAS INTERESTED IN WHAT THE SWEDISH TEAM PARACHUTED INTO RURAL SOUTH SUDAN WAS THINKING AND WHAT WAS -- WHAT DID THEY GATHER OR RUMINATE ON IN TERMS OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF THEIR WORK AND SORT OF WHERE THEY WERE, DID THEY KNOW THE HISTORY, DID THEY KNOW THE IMPACT AND THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THAT WORK, AND SO I WANTED THEM TO BE KIND OF NAMELESS BECAUSE YOU COULD INSERT ANY SORT OF INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY INTO SORT OF THE WORK OF THESE TWO GUYS.

LET ME JUST DIG DOWN INTO THAT BECAUSE I DO FIND IT INTERESTING THAT YOU ARE POSING THAT QUESTION ABOUT WHAT IS THE ETHICS, WHAT IS THE MORALITY OF INTERVENTION

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with David Beasley and Mary Schiavo about the fatal plane crash in Ethiopia; and Dave Eggers about his new book, “The Parade.” Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Todd Douglas Miller about “Apollo 11,” his new documentary that chronicles the moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

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