The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

Finally⁠—a Dave Eggers book I like better than The Circle, The Monk of Mokha is a biography of Mokhtar Alkhanshali that chronicles the experiences of a Yemeni-American and his obsession with coffee. Mokhtar’s story is inspiring⁠—in today’s practical world, it’s hard to take risks to follow one’s passion, but some people do it anyway.

The story was well-written, but the narration style was dry and objective. (This seems to be common across Eggers’s works.) The characters felt two dimensional. I couldn’t connect with them. I felt like I was reading a very well-crafted transcript of events. I wanted to feel emotions; I wanted to root for the characters, but I felt distant to them.

Of course, it all boils down to preference. Dave Eggers is a great writer, and his works raise awareness about human rights and political issues. (To come to think of it, his writing voice seems to be more objective than some journalists’ works, but I guess it’s hard to always be impartial nowadays.) For this reason, I think his books are worth reading, but I’ll probably stick to his non-fiction from now on.

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