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A savage satire of the United States in the throes of insanity, this blisteringly funny novel tells the story of a noble ship, the Glory, and the loud, clownish, and foul Captain who steers it to the brink of disaster.
When the decorated Captain of a great ship descends the gangplank for the final time, a new leader, a man with a yellow feather in his hair, vows to step forward. Though he has no experience, no knowledge of nautical navigation or maritime law, and though he has often remarked he doesn't much like boats, he solemnly swears to shake things up. Together with his band of petty thieves and confidence men known as the Upskirt Boys, the Captain thrills his passengers, writing his dreams and notions on the cafeteria wipe-away board, boasting of his exemplary anatomy, devouring cheeseburgers, and tossing overboard anyone who displeases him. Until one day a famous pirate, long feared by passengers of the Glory but revered by the Captain for how phenomenally masculine he looked without a shirt while riding a horse, appears on the horizon . . . Absurd, hilarious, and all too recognizable, The Captain and the Glory is a wicked farce of contemporary America only Dave Eggers could dream up.
About the Author
DAVE EGGERS is the author of twelve books, including The Parade; The Monk of Mokha; The Circle; Heroes of the Frontier; A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; and What Is the What, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France's Prix Médicis Étranger and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His nonfiction and journalism have appeared in The Guardian, the New Yorker, The Best American Travel Writing, and the Best American Essays. He is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing company, and cofounder of Voice of Witness, a book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. He is the cofounder of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers with locations around the country, and of ScholarMarch, which connects donors with students to make college accessible. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. He lives in Northern California with his family.
"Eggers is still doing some of his strongest work... the wildest and funniest satire of our president I’ve read so far, it’s a great relief to see that Eggers has not lost his edge, in fact he’s turning himself into one of our great political novelists."
—KCRW's Best Books of 2019
"This tale entertains.. Inherently hilarious... the writing works because Eggers doesn’t try to be too sly or cerebral. The tone is cartoonish and naive and the illustrations by Nathaniel Russell are childlike, but sinister, reminiscent of a Hilaire Belloc story... Eggers doesn’t have to exaggerate, he just has to pick and choose his details. The Captain and the Glory is funny because it’s true."
—The Times (UK)
"A balm for our time. Eases a bit of the fear. It's brilliant and iconic and straddles the lines of humor and timelessness and indispensability. Get it. We need it."
—Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women
"An act of catharsis — a scream into the void that concentrates our collective need to do so. In a decade, the novel might exist, not as an explainer for our times, but more as a fun-house mirrored snapshot of a period Eggers deems a 'once-in-century' anomaly."
"A short parable for our times that is 30 percent Veep, 30 percent Voltaire, and the rest flavored by Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Swift, Percival Everett, and Salman Rushdie."
—Los Angeles Review of Books
"Funny, incisive allegory."
“I’m fascinated by people who are able to do a variety of wildly different things, all successfully. Dave Eggers is one of those people.”
—Ezra Klein, Vox
“In Dave Eggers’ witty fable The Captain and the Glory, the fictional narcissist who takes command of a ship believes ‘all books are written by people who would not get erections.’”
—The Independent (UK)
"If you’ve felt like you’ve been living in Wonderland since 2016, Dave Eggers’s latest, The Captain and the Glory, will be welcome reassurance that you’re not the only one, a hilarious allegory about an unqualified buffoon made captain of a ship because some people onboard want to “shake things up.”
"Seriously, tell any of the best novelists in America to satirize an obese septuagenarian who’s addicted to Sudafed and paid more money than most households bring in in a year to pay off a porn star with whom he slept while his wife was pregnant about a decade before he became the most powerful man in the country. They’d probably avoid the topic because it’s too insane to touch... Dave Eggers is one of the best novelists in America right now, though, and he likes to get weird with his stories, so here we are. The Captain and the Glory handles the absurdity of Trump more deftly than some other very funny people have... Eggers presents these events matter-of-factly. He doesn’t normalize them, but introduces them, already normalized within the world he’s constructed. It’s an interesting world, but it’s not that different from ours—a testament to how far we’ve strayed from normalcy."
“With hilariously identifiable characters, chillingly brazen criminality, and burgeoning totalitarianism conveyed in a mesmerizing, fairy-tale cadence, Eggers, in concert with nimble and expressive illustrator Russell, presents an ingenious, incisive, grimly entrancing fable reflecting our nation’s ever more alarming predicament.”
“Utterly hysterical. This book gets it exactly right — the tone, the form, the kind of naive narrative that implies that all this is perfectly normal. I laughed out loud so frequently I was amazed, because I’m not that easy to make laugh out loud. Bravo.”
“A funny, macabre, and inspired modern fable about a boat and its captain. If there is any further metaphor involved, though, it is totally lost on me.”
—B. J. Novak
“A shattering, hilarious, spellbinding siren call from the deck of one of our greatest storytellers and prophets.”
"This dark fable is a piercing look at the foibles of our time."
—Admiral James Stavridis USN, Supreme Allied Commander at NATO (2009-2013)
“It is difficult these days to portray the sheer, numbing, terrifying, unprecedented strangeness of what is happening in contemporary maritime life. One wants to say it mirrors politics? But truly no metaphor quite captures the sense of peril, nausea, uncertainty, and constant upheaval we feel on angry seas while under bad command. The worry is that you stop trying to describe it. That is why Dave Eggers’s novel is such an accomplishment: it reminds us of how bad it is right now, how we have a moral obligation to keep noticing it, and not get quietly used to it. I’m talking about boat life. Nothing else. Nothing else.”
"There is a peculiar kind of cathartic feeling that comes from desperate, worried laughter. This kept happening to me while reading this book. The Captain and the Glory is completely absurd and true. It is as funny as it is scarily reflective of our times and current president. Eggers has given us an essential American satire, a depiction of this administration that doesn’t simply deny it as an abomination—which it is—but carries us through an illustration of a parallel imaginary world that delights and defames and is just so good and funny."
If the normal daily diet of news makes you think that Lord Byron was right -- that you should laugh so you do not weep — then let Dave Eggers help you do just that.
—George F. Will