Book Review | The Eyes and the Impossible (ARC)

I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Eyes & the Impossible by Dave Eggers. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.

In The Eyes and the Impossible, Johannes is a free dog, running wild. He observes everything from the other animals to the humans to the ocean, as tasked by the Bison who live nearby. But one day, Johannes finds himself mesmerized by strange rectangles the humans are displaying, which show various scenes and images that he doesn’t quite understand. Not only that, the humans are also constructing a new building and have brought hundreds of a new type of animal. With these changes, the equilibrium of Johannes’ world is in jeopardy, and he realizes that he will have to do things he never dreamed of to protect—and perhaps even free—his friends.

This was a strange little book, but really intriguing. I loved Johannes’s perspective; he has such an interesting outlook on art, on nature, on humanity. Seeing how a dog might think of these things is really cool. I also liked the other characters, especially the Bison and Bertrand the seagull.

Beyond the characters, this is a story about the nature of freedom, and how a community can come together to do something kind. It’s actually a hard book to explain, really. It’s reflective and serious, but also light and funny. The tone makes this feel like an old-school fable, kind of timeless and for any age reader. It will make you ask questions about what it means to be free, to be a creature in this strange world.

In the end, The Eyes & the Impossible is one of those books that makes you think, and insists that you return to it multiple times to soak in everything it has to offer. I can see this winning writing awards, and appealing to adults and children—maybe even more so to the former. It’s unusual, but in a lovely way. I have, perhaps, had more fun reading other books, but this is a contemplative journey with an awesome protagonist that I am very glad I read.

The Eyes & the Impossible is available now (at least, the fancy indie bookstore exclusive edition is, with the regular version coming out on May 9th).

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